For 18 year-old Janelle Parent of Ponoka entering university this fall and playing hockey for the Charlottetown P.E.I. Panthers will certainly be a childhood dream come true and the exciting opportunity of a lifetime.
The daughter of Brian and Lori Parent, Janelle was born and raised in Ponoka, and has loved the sport of hockey as both a player and a fan for as long as she can remember.
“I started playing road hockey with my brother David when I was four, we skated for hours on the outdoor pond. Our family spent a lot of time at the local rink and I finally got into the local minor hockey program as a member of a Mite boys team,” Janelle recalled.
Her hockey career has already spanned over 14 years, which included three seasons in Mites, two in Atoms, two in Peewees, one in Bantams and three in Midgets. Along the way the speedy centre turned forward enjoyed the opportunity of playing two seasons with the Lacombe Girls Midget squad, as well as a thrilling year with the Mickey Girard-coached Red Deer Sutter Fund Midget “AAA” Chiefs, where she excelled as one of the Alberta Midget “AAA” Ladies’ League leading scorers.
Education was also an important goal for Janelle Parent during her busy youthful years, attending St. Augustine School up to Grade 9, then completing her high school studies and graduating from the Ponoka Composite in 2008. Other hobbies along the way have included baseball and snowboarding, and for the past three summers she has really enjoyed instructing at the annual Black Elk Hockey Camp at the Ponoka Complex.
After being scouted at the Max Midget Hockey Tournament in Calgary, Janelle received quite a few hockey scholarship offers from universities and colleges in the United States and Canada.
“I have always wanted to stay in Canada, so when my dad and I got an invitation to visit the University of Prince Edward Island Campus in Charlottetown, we jumped at the opportunity, and were very impressed by their programs and welcome hospitality,” the young lady expressed. Janelle and her family were very excited to accept a full hockey scholarship, and on Aug. 27, she will embark on her first really big adventure away from home to take general education studies and, of course, play hockey. The lady Panthers will play in a league against other eastern universities, as well as competing in hockey tournaments in both Canada and the United States, and of course always working hard to catch a spot in the prestigious National University Ladies’ Hockey Championships.
There is no doubt that Janelle Parent will always be very proud to call Ponoka her hometown, and can’t say enough about her number 1 fans and supporters, including her mom and dad, her brother David, 22, her sister Kim, 17, the rest of her extended family and her community. Just a few of the countless favourite memories of her hockey adventures so far have included: having Blair Thompson and Mark Stafford as her coaches, winning her first silver medal in Peewee Provincials, winning three Provincial Midget Championships as well as the 2004 Winter Games title, being on the all-star team at the Western finals and having so many great teammates.
Her advice to other young hockey players…work hard, play hard, always be a team player and set your goals high. Over the next few years Janelle Parent has certainly set her goals very high, and will strive to finish university, play lots of great hockey and hopefully some day have the opportunity to play hockey for Team Canada. We all wish you the very best of luck and success on all counts.