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'When someone tells you that you can't do it, you can': Jarrell a welcome presence to sports world

With a highly accomplished athletic legacy highlighted by 10 podium finishes at the Federation Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) Inline Hockey World Championship, the Canadian maple leaf proudly emblazoned on her jersey, Jackie Jarrell has added a plethora of other exciting roles to her impressive career. Becoming an entrepreneur, related to her inspiring efforts as an in-demand trainer and coach, she has demonstrated how prominence in hockey can extend beyond play.

The proprietor of Gold Performance Training (GPT), based in her hometown of Belleville, Ont., such entrepreneurial drive has incorporated Jarrell’s love of hockey. Just as important, Jarrell, an Impact Athletic Trainer, is establishing herself as a role model for young athletes in her community, instilling the confidence that their own dreams are possible of pursuit.

Canadian Jackie Jarrell is making some serious strides in the male-dominated sports world (CONTRIBUTED).

Having spent more than five seasons as a Head Trainer with the Quinte Red Devil Hockey Association, Jarrell’s local legacy has also seen her serve admirably in the capacity of Director and Head Teacher of St. Theresa Hockey Academy in Belleville.

Since GPT opened its doors, becoming an essential facet for local athletes to improve their conditioning, the results are evident by the growing number of promising athletes graduating to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), along with competitive opportunities in both U SPORTS and the NCAA. Employing encouragement, empathy, and enthusiasm, a new generation of talent has benefitted greatly from Jarrell’s acumen. Very proud of the opportunity to have made an impact on the path towards achieving their own successes, which stands as one of the touchstones of her work.

“I feel so fortunate to have had so many incredible experiences in my life with the sport of hockey and it is important to give back and inspire today’s young athletes to reach their goals. I always wanted to do something meaningful in my life and I knew no matter how good of a hockey player I was, I would never make millions playing like the men. “It was important to me to be well-educated in my career and with my own athletic experiences playing at the highest level of hockey, I know what it takes to play your sport at the highest level. This was the inspiration in starting my own business, Gold Performance Training. I wanted to still be involved in the game, just in a different way.

“Seeing my athletes achieve their goals and excel in their sport is the greatest satisfaction with what I do. I truly love what I do every day and really enjoy being a part of their sporting journeys.”

With GPT recently celebrating its seventh anniversary, the annual progression has created a powerful impression. Earning the trust and confidence of her community, such a degree of confidence is best evidenced by the growing number of accolades bestowed upon a jubilant Jarrell, emerging as a highly revered figure in her community.

Recognized as the Quinte Region Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019, the honour served as the bookend to a decade that began with another proud accolade. Having captured the 2012 Robinson Kelleher Memorial Award, given to Belleville's Athlete of the Year, and as only the 10th female recipient, it set the tone for a tremendous decade filled with achievement, including a pair of gold medals in FIRS world championship play.

“I was truly honoured and humbled to win such a prestigious business award in my community. There are many great entrepreneurs in my area so it was very special to not only be nominated but be the recipient of this award.

“Since starting my business seven years ago, I am very proud of the impact Gold Performance Training has had on the local Quinte area community and beyond. We are proud to have worked with over 50 athletes who have played their sport at the highest level and have had over 2,000 athletes in our concussion program.

“We work with 150-180 athletes every week throughout fitness strength and conditioning, nutrition, and mentorship programs.”

Jarrell’s journey from athlete to entrepreneur has resulted in sharing her stories through public speaking. Among her engagements, Jarrell has recounted her experiences at numerous gatherings, including the Quinte Young Professionals and a local event recognizing International Women’s Day in 2020.

Having also spoken at a Concussion Awareness Conference held at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., where she graduated with an education degree in 2009, it is a topic of tremendous meaning for Jarrell. Suffering a concussion while playing NCAA hockey with the Mercyhurst Lakers, doctors were in doubt that she would be able to resume her competitive career.

Able to mount an inspiring comeback, recovering at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, spurred her decision to commendably establish a concussion management program. Having benefitted hundreds of local athletes in youth hockey and soccer, the display of exceptional leadership with this initiative holds a lasting effect.

Additionally, Jarrell was among the keynote speakers at the 2019 Hello Boss Girl Leader Lounge Event. A company geared towards empowering female entrepreneurs in the Bay of Quinte and Kingston region through community, collaboration, and education, the opportunity to be part of an event with more than 100 local businesswomen in attendance marked a significant point of pride, adding luster to an expanding influence.

“It is truly an honour to be asked to speak to like-minded women and young entrepreneurs in my community. If I can inspire one person to chase their dreams, it is worth it to me. I always tell women that:

'I work in a very much male-dominant career, so I can appreciate how hard women must work to gain the same respect as males. We all face challenges and hurdles you must overcome. Believe in yourself every step of the way, even when someone tells you that you can't do it; you can.'

Also, a Fitness Consultant with the NHL Officiating Department, while recently earning certification as a Hockey Canada Skills Coach, Jarrell was on hand at the NHL’s Exposure Combine in Buffalo, N.Y. Of note, this builds on an already strong body of work which has seen Jarrell work at numerous Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Combines, plus the 2015 NHL and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Top Prospects Fitness Testing.

Taking into account the growing number of women that have made an impact in the NHL throughout the last decade, from broadcasting (Jennifer Botterill) to scouting (Cammi Granato), to officiating (Katie Guay, Kendall Hanley), to coaching (Dawn Braid), Jarrell’s duties add to this momentum. Exceptionally proud to be contributing to such an exciting time, and standing as a testament to her dedication, this is another example of what makes Jarrell a significant asset to any organization she is involved with.

“I was so fortunate to be asked by the NHL prior to COVID to work for them at a few different events, and again this past summer and fall. I assist with both the on and off-ice testing and my role has grown with them over the past few years into more responsibility.

“To be recognized and invited to work for the highest level of hockey is truly an honour. I am so honoured and fortunate to be a part of a team that is very much male dominant but has great respect for women like myself who works in the game.”

All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated.

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