The Golden Girl

Jackie Jarrell, owner of Gold Performance Training, is a Team Canada athlete training younger athletes for success.

Although Team Canada athlete Jackie Jarrell plays inline hockey, her journey to the sport began on the ice.

“I look back to when I was a young girl,” said Jarrell, “and it was a minority back then, as a female [ice hockey player].”

“I was okay to be different.”

Jarrell began to excel at ice hockey in her teens, playing for leagues such as the Quinte Red Devils ‘AAA’ and the Durham Lightning of the National Woman’s Hockey League (CWHL).

Being from Corbyville, Ontario, Jarrell would make trips into Toronto to play ice hockey.

“She would make the  trip just to get noticed.” said Donnie Jarrell, Jarrell’s younger brother.

“Back then, she was a real trailblazer…ahead of her time.”

Her hard work started to pay off when she was offered a hockey scholarship to go play at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania, U.S.

Jarrell had a great first year as a freshmen and was leading the team in scoring during her second year when she sustained her concussion.

Jarrell pictured for Canada women’s inline hockey team.

“It was hard to hear about it because she was doing so well.” said Donnie Jarrell.

At first, Jarrell didn’t tell anyone about the concussion and continued to play hockey. At the time, athletes felt pressured to keep playing when they got injured.

“There weren’t any systems set in place back then about these kind of things,” said Donnie Jarrell.

Eventually, Jarrell had to take a year off school and a year and a half off of hockey. It became a major setback for her and her career.

“Initially when I got injured,” said Jarrell, “doctor’s wondered if I would ever finish my degree or I would play [hockey] again.”

However, while it was a setback, Jarrell is nothing but grateful for the team of doctors who helped her get better.

“I had the most incredible medical team… all who I still keep in touch with and call friends.”

It was around this time that a new sport within the hockey world was starting to gain ground– inline hockey.

“At the time, the head coach knew her from Mercyhurst… through university hockey.” said Donna Forbes, assistant coach of the women’s Inline hockey team and general manager of the league.

“She had a natural ability to score. It was very evident.”

The league was interested in Jarrell’s talent regardless of her injury.

“She had the concussion issue at University, we knew that.” said Forbes.

At the time, Forbes told Jarrell that she should tryout for the team.

“I remember saying to Jackie, ‘Listen, come into tryouts in tip-top shape because I’ll tell you right now that you’re pretty much in the bubble.” said Forbes.

“She came into tryouts and was stellar.” said Forbes.

“I swear from that moment on, she’s been that person we’ve been able to depend on to score in big games, big goals.”

As a player who played well under pressure, Jarrell has went on to play for Canada in 10 World Championships being a two-time world champion and winning a total of 10 medals (two gold, six silver and two bronze). In 2012, she was named “Leading Scorer” of the World Championship tournament which lead Canada to a gold medal.

“I have been very fortunate to play for Team Canada for ten years,” said Jarrell, “and to have played in ten tournaments.”

Although playing for Canada has been a dream come true for Jarrell, she wanted to do more for her community.

Jarrell pictured at her facility, Gold Performance Training, in 2016.

So in August 2015, Jarrell opened Gold Performance Training on a plot of land across the street from her parents diary farm.

“I am very close with my family.” said Jarrell, “It was important for me to have it [Gold Performance Training] in the country, on the farm where I grew up.”

Gold Performance Training is a fitness centre for all, and the next training step for young athletes who want to compete on a provincial or national level in their sport.

“I feel that there’s a lot of character within the facility and I have a ton of room to do all kinds of different types of training on the appropriate seasons.”

Jarrell with athletes and OHL draft-picks, Cole McGuire (left) and Issac Langdon (right).

Currently, Jarrell has trained multiple athletes who have gone to play on sport scholarships, for the OHL, and one athlete currently playing for Canada Rugby.

Besides looking after athlete’s bodies, Jarrell also takes care of their brains too. Gold Performance Training offers a concussion program that tests and rehabilitates those affected with a head injury.

“For me, it was important to take a negative in my life and turn it into a positive.” said Jarrell, talking about the program.

Jarrell has had over 900 kids come to her facility to get tested through the concussion program. She has also helped athletes form the NHL who have been affected by concussions.

“If anything, she’s saved a lot of careers from failing.” said Donnie Jarrell.

Friends and family of Jarrell have been very supportive of her business, especially once they stepped inside the building.

“I remember when she was building her gym,” said Forbes, “I was like ‘Jackie, you’re gonna build a gym?’”

“In my head I was thinking like, ‘Whose going to drive out to the country, when they can go into the city for a gym?’”

“And then, she invited me out to the gym.” said Forbes, “When I saw it.. I was like, ‘This is phenomenal!’”

“Like, I get it now….you build it, and they will come!”

With Gold Performance Training taking off, Jarrell is planning to make the most of her time left with Team Canada now that she’s approaching the retirement age.

Currently, Jarrell is training to be on the roster for the 2019 women’s inline hockey team.

“I still feel like have a year or two left within me.”

However, being a part of the team as coaching staff seems like the next chapter for Jackie’s inline hockey career.

“I was named the strength and conditioning coach for the women’s and men’s team last year.” said Jarrell, “So that’s something I’m excited to continue to be involved with and work with the organization that has given so much to me as an athlete for ten plus years.”

“There’s always more opportunities.”

“I swear from that moment on, she’s been that person we’ve been able to depend on to score in big games, big goals.”

You can follow Jackie’s story and experiences with Team Canada on Instagram!