This month’s alumni spotlight focuses on Isabelle Lajoie.
University of Alberta Pandas forward Izzy Lajoie became comfortable on the ice at an early age, but it wasn’t due to the sport of hockey.
Lajoie played ringette until she made the switch over to hockey to play in the U12 division.
“I had grown up around hockey as my dad was always the coach for my brother’s teams,” Lajoie said. “Being around hockey so much as a kid really sparked my interest to make the switch over from ringette.”
Not only is Lajoie’s father the main figure for her getting her involved in the sport, but he is also the biggest influence on her flourishing career.
“Through his own coaching, my dad instilled the value of hard work and character into me,” said Lajoie. “He taught me that skill and systems can be taught but how you show up to the rink everyday is what really matters. Hockey requires daily work and in order to be successful you have to buy into the team’s culture and accept whatever role you’re given.”
Lajoie played her minor hockey in St. Albert, with her final year being with the AAA St. Albert Slash before moving onto university with the Pandas.
“My favourite thing about hockey is the sense of culture and family that comes with it,” she said. “Being able to play with 20 of your closest friends and do something you love is one of my favourite parts of the sport.”
Lajoie said she has a lot of lasting memories from her time playing the sport she loves, but one in particular stands out.
“Winning gold at the Canada Winter Games that were hosted in Red Deer,” she said. “To be able to win in my home province in front of a sold-out crowd was an unreal experience, one that I’ll cherish forever.”