Jada Livingston is always ready to Hit the Ice.
The avid hockey player has enjoyed the game immensely since signing up at the age of seven. Turning 16 on Oct. 2, Livingston’s taken her hockey to a higher level the last two years.
She’s in Grade 11 at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan where hockey’s much more than a pastime. Livingston’s season even got extended into the summer when she was involved in filming for the Hit the Ice series on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
It all adds up to busy times for the Saltair resident, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Brother Hunter also attends the college and is going into Grade 12.
Livingston was raised in Ladysmith and went to the old Davis Road School from kindergarten to Grade 6, moving over to Ladysmith Secondary School for Grades 7 through 9 and then off to Saskatchewan in Grade 10.
All sorts of activities were on Livingston’s radar until her love for hockey blossomed.
“I was the type of kid to play every sport and I couldn’t find a sport I liked,” she said.
“I was always at the rink watching my brother play. When I was younger I followed everything he did.”
It didn’t take long then for Livingston to follow Hunter’s lead into the hockey rink.
“I started off with the CanSkate program and power skating to get into hockey,” she recalled.
Livingston went through the Cowichan Valley rep hockey system.
“I played male hockey all the way up to my first year Bantam,” she pointed out. “That’s when I switched to female.”
How did Livingston wind up in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, inquiring minds want to know?
“My dad and my uncle are alumni to the school,” she noted. “My brother went out there the year before.”
The move advanced both Livingston’s academic and athletic (hockey) aspirations.
“The first month was the hardest,” she conceded of last year’s school relocation. “After I got into my routine, it was awesome. I love that school. It was really helpful having Hunter there as well.”
The Notre Dame female team plays in the Midget AAA League in Saskatchewan and Livingston patrols the defence.
“My dad and my brother were both defencemen,” she said. “At the end of the day, I thought defence was a better fit for me.
“I’d say I’m more of your shutdown defenceman. I get more penalty kill time than power play.”
Livingston even chipped in with a few goals on the offensive end. Hockey now occupies a lot more of her time than ever before.
“We’re on the ice every day and we’re in the weight room almost every day,” she indicated. “It was lots of hockey, but I really enjoyed it.”
Livingston feels the more advanced schoolwork and all the hockey challenges are preparing her well for the next level.
“When I graduate I’m hoping to get a scholarship and go off to college and continue playing hockey and studying,” she enthused.
The chance to appear in the Hit The Ice series followed the National Aboriginal Championships. Livingston has Metis heritage and played for Team B.C. in the tournament during May in Nova Scotia.
B.C. came fourth in the event, losing the bronze medal game to a Saskatchewan team that included her defence partner from Notre Dame. More importantly, Livingston was among 20 girls from the tournament plus 10 others who went to North Bay, Ont. for three weeks in July in a tryout process and got selected to the main team for Hit The Ice that included a trip to Boston for the Beantown Classic.
“Everything at the tournament was filmed,” said Livingston. “All the games and the practices leading up to it, everything.”
The team finished 2-2 there and filming for the series followed the players on the ice and behind the scenes. The Hit The Ice Facebook page features background stories and the program will air next February.
“Some of the activities were really unique we did,” Livingston enthused. “It definitely tested our mental and physical capacities. It was amazing. I never thought I would do something like that.
“Some of those activities have definitely been crossed off my bucket list.”