A little over a year after dreaming about playing for Team Canada on the world stage, a Vancouver Island hockey player found herself winning gold overseas.
Growing up in the Comox Valley, now in school at Shawnigan Lake, Morgan Jackson almost could not believe that she had been selected for the training camp.
“I actually shed a tear. My mom called me right before school and she said ‘Morgan you just got invited to the team Canada camp,’” she said.
From there, Morgan prepared for the camp with a personal trainer and worked out every day to become a better player. She would eventually become a part of the team and flew off to Sweden to play in the IIHF U18 Women’s Ice Hockey World Championships.
The team would dominate the competition, going undefeated and shutting out Sweden – the home team – in the gold medal game 10-0. While playing hockey still felt mostly normal even in another country, Morgan found a few differences, especially not being the home team.
“It’s just like you’re in the zone on the ice,” she said. “Obviously the crowd’s a little different. Playing Sweden in the finals, they were kind of against you.”
Morgan spent most of the tournament playing right wing and also was instrumental on the penalty kill, something that did not disappoint.
“I love that there’s just less of you on the ice so I find there’s more opportunity to get a breakaway on the penalty kill and score,” she said.
Morgan managed to get a few breakaways in the tournament. Despite not being able to finish them, she says she loved having the opportunity and the win for the 16-year-old is surreal for her after coming home.
“It’s amazing, just being 16 and holding up a cup and a gold medal, I didn’t know I could do such a thing at a young age.”
Her coach at Shawnigan Lake School, Carly Haggard, says it is her first year coaching Morgan. However, she saw her potential early on.
“I had no doubt that she had the ability to play at the international level,” said Carly.
“When she came to my house and knocked on my door in December and told me the news that she made it and would be going to play in Sweden at the world championships, I was excited for her but definitely not surprised.”
Carly adds Morgan is a powerful skater and also has a very good hockey IQ and is able to read and anticipate plays extremely well.
Seeing the gold medal in her hands, Carly says she could not be any more proud of Morgan’s achievement.
Morgan asks others wanting to be in her position to never give up and says dreams can be achieved as long as the work is put in. Carly adds it is an example that anything is possible.
“She’s from a small town on Vancouver Island, grew up playing minor hockey in her hometown and just hard work and dedication truly does pay off,” said Carly. “Don’t set your bar low, dream big.”
Morgan hopes to compete again in the competition next year in Switzerland.