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Photo credit: Richard Whittaker

Meet Gee-Gees hockey centre Janie Paquette. She’s graduating with a bachelors degree in human kinetics this year and looking forward to graduate studies in physiotherapy, hopefully again at the University of Ottawa. After starting off in ringette and excelling as a hockey player due to strong family support, Paquette has become a key player for the Gee-Gees’ success in hockey thus far.

The Fulcrum: Who first got you into hockey?

Before I started hockey, I was playing ringette because it was more appropriate for girls. I was looking up to my older brother because he was playing hockey at a competitive level, and he was always the first one to ask me to play street hockey. My brother and I used to go to the outdoor rink almost every night after homework, even if it was -40 degrees outside. When it was time to pick teams, I was always his first pick. Not because I was a girl and the youngest on the ice, it was because I was his little sister and he wanted me to improve as a hockey player. When it was time to go home, he was always walking with me even if all his friends were staying on the ice. He was a big part of the reason why I switched to hockey when I was nine years old.

Who do you look up to as a professional hockey player and why?

My favourite hockey player is Pavel Datsyuk from the Detroit Red Wings. He’s one of the most talented players in the NHL. He is a great offensive player and scores goals, but he is also a really good centre man in the defensive zone. He had a lot of injuries in the past and he always came back stronger than he was before. He’s a great example of leadership, he’s intense on the ice, and he wants to make a difference for the team.

Throughout your four years with the Gee-Gees, what have you improved upon the most?

If I have to pick one, I will choose getting out of my comfort zone. It’s not always easy to push yourself out of that zone but when you do it, you’re always right. My coach Yanick Evola helped me improve that goal. He’s demanding on us, but at the end of the day we are the ones who benefit from it. He wants the best from every girl in the team. He pushed me every day in high school for five years, in Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) for three years, and now at university.

What do you do to mentally prepare yourself before a game?

Just before going on the ice, I always listen to the same song, “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner, because it reminds me of the two championships I won in CEGEP. What other sport would you like to play? I like to play tennis. Tennis is all about agility, strength, precision, and being smart. I play for fun during the summer with my friends and I always have a good time.

What is your favourite thing to do during the off-season?

One thing that I like to do is to go to my cottage … I usually go with all my family. I have time to play with my nephews and disconnect with the reality. Also, I always bring my guitar to sing around the fire even if I don’t sing like Celine Dion.