2024 bhm jaques main

Jaques ready for what comes next

After a decorated academic and athletic career at Ohio State University, Sophie Jaques is using her place in the game – with Team Canada and in the PWHL – to inspire the next generation

Jonathan Yue
|
February 21, 2024
|

Sophie Jaques had plans to pursue a career in civil engineering.

Instead, the 23-year-old finds herself living out her dream as a professional hockey player with PWHL Minnesota.

“It’s been a really exciting time for women’s hockey,” Jaques says. “It’s been great to play alongside the best players in the world and learn from all their experiences.”

Jaques was born in Toronto and grew up in the city's west end, where she developed an early love for hockey.

“I started playing hockey at Rennie Park by my house,” she recalls. “I really liked it, so my parents put me in a learn-to-play program and I fell in love with the game from there.

“I remember always having a smile on my face and enjoying the time with my friends, enjoying hot chocolate and those little things like jumping into the snowbank after the Zamboni came off the ice.”

While attending Silverthorn Collegiate in Etobicoke, Jaques played three seasons with the Toronto Aeros of the Provincial Women's Hockey League — now called the Ontario Women's Hockey League — winning league championships in 2016 and 2018.

Jaques recalls spending countless hours working on her game throughout her early years.

“I went to a lot of shooting clinics when I was younger, working on my shot in the backyard, and I think that helped take my shot to the next level and [it is] something I continue to use every time I step on the ice now.”

That level of commitment is what helped set Jaques apart, whether it was hockey or academics — something that became extremely evident in her five seasons at Ohio State University.

[Photo or social media post goes here]

Making history at OSU

Jaques’ teammates and coaches in Columbus describe her as an easygoing and brilliant student-athlete, but it was on the ice where her character and strength shone through with the Buckeyes.

“Things come naturally for Sophie,” says Nadine Muzerall, women’s hockey head coach at Ohio State. “Seeing her maturity grow over the years, her confidence was a big piece of that growth, and finding success on the ice, she became a leader.”

As a rookie in 2018-19, she led all OSU rookies with 21 points (6-15—21) before topping that with 24 points (9-15—24) as a sophomore.

After posting just two goals and four points in 20 games during the COVID-affected 2020-21 season, Jaques exploded as a senior. her 59 points (21-38—59) in 38 games rank as the second-most by a defender in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) history and the most in Ohio State history. Her contributions led the Buckeyes to their first NCAA national championship and put the women’s hockey world on notice.

“It finally all just clicked that season,” says Jaques. “I developed more confidence in myself, and it allowed me to play at my best. The next season, I wanted to prove that it wasn’t a one-off season, that it wasn’t a fluke that senior season, and that I could play that way."

Jaques returned for a fifth year and picked up right where she left off. Not only did she earn a fellowship from OSU to fund her final year to complete her master’s degree in civil engineering, Jaques put up another 48 points (24-24—48) in 41 games, becoming the first Black woman and only the 10th Canadian to be awarded the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the best women’s hockey player in the NCAA.

“She’s one of the best defencemen to play college hockey and the fact that she joined before OSU was number one in the country, and she helped build this program, that says a lot about her character and being a builder,” Muzerall says.

Jaques filled her trophy case at Ohio State; in addition to the Kazmaier Award, she was a two-time First Team All-American, two-time WCHA Defender of the Year, WCHA Player of the Year, WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete and a four-time member of the WCHA All-Academic Team.

In 2022, she won the Arthur Ashe Jr. Female Sport Scholar of the Year, an honour presented to a minority woman who has distinguished herself in her academic and athletic pursuits..

“I’ve coached a lot of people who had success, but I’ve very rarely coached someone as successful as Sophie,” says Muzerall. “In terms of point production as a defenceman, she’s the only person from Ohio State and all its respected programs to win the Arthur Ashe award, and she humbly accepted it. She was receiving national recognition, not just as a hockey player, but as a brilliant student-athlete, and that has never been done before.”

Reaching out to the community

Jaques’ achievements on and off the ice as a student-athlete only grew the game as her influence and leadership were felt among the young girls and boys in the community.

After finishing her college career last spring, Jaques returned home to Toronto to team up with Saroya Tinker to host the first Black Girl Hockey Club Canada summer camp, sharing her knowledge and experience with the next generation in the community she grew up in.

“At the beginning, it was something that I didn’t really know was happening, but I’m grateful to be in the position where I can inspire others,” Jaques says. “I want to help get more girls into hockey, and hopefully break down more barriers surrounding the game. It’s incredible to know now that I can play a small part in continuing to grow the game.”

Her reach only grew last November when she made her debut for Canada’s National Women’s Team in Los Angeles during the Rivalry Series.

“It was an incredibly grateful feeling to represent my country,” Jaques says. “Playing alongside someone like Jocelyn Larocque, who I watched when I was a young girl, and being around all those girls who have been pioneers for the women’s game, to finally get the chance to wear that jersey with that group, was incredible.”



Emma Maltais, who played with Jaques at Ohio State, was more than happy to welcome her friend to the national team. Before the game, it was Maltais who handed Jaques her Team Canada jersey.

“Sophie’s been dreaming of that moment for a long time,” says Maltais. “She’s so humble and for someone who is so good, there’s a calmness to her while she plays at such a high level. She’s so driven as a person too, in athletics and academics, and that speaks a lot to her as a person and her willingness to go the extra mile to find success.”

Trailblazer once again

After her outstanding college career, Jaques made history by becoming the first-ever Black player and the first Buckeye to be drafted into the PWHL when she was taken 10th overall by Boston — something that wasn’t even an option for her a year ago.

She made history once again earlier this month by being part of the very first PWHL trade when she was dealt to Minnesota.

“I'm really grateful that this year, it is a sustainable league with liveable wages so that I could pursue hockey,” she says. "With the PWHL being here, it helps with the next generation of Black hockey players see representation and show them that it is possible and keep them motivated in their journeys."

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

emadziya@hockeycanada.ca 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

ssharkey@hockeycanada.ca

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

jknight@hockeycanada.ca

Recent News
Most Popular
Videos
Photos
2024 WWC: USA 1 – CAN 0 OT (Preliminary)
Desbiens was terrific with 29 saves, but Canada fell in overtime.
2024 WWC: CAN 5 – CZE 0 (Preliminary)
O’Neill finished with 2G 1A to help Canada blank the Czechs.
2024 WWC: CAN 3 – SUI 0 (Preliminary)
Maschmeyer posted a 17-save shutout as Canada blanked the Swiss.
2024 WWC: CAN 4 – FIN 1 (Preliminary)
Shelton finished with 1G 2A to help Canada to an opening win.
Schedule