Jacy Akre just doesn’t fit the mould of a goaltender.
Normally, goaltenders are cocky, confident and vocal. Akre might have the confident part, but the 17-year-old netminder for the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League’s Battlefords Sharks falls quite short in the other two traits.
Akre, who is from Prince Albert, is winding down her playing career after three seasons in the Battlefords. When one looks at the team’s statistics during her time with the Sharks it would be surprising that Akre has any confidence at all as the club has won just three games in her two-plus seasons. After close scrutiny, however, those numbers are meaningless when Akre’s personal statistics go under the magnifying glass.
In 47 games during her stint in the Battlefords, Akre has faced an amazing 2,274 shots. That is slightly more than 48 per game. Her overall save percentage is right around 90 per cent, which is absolutely amazing when that much rubber is directed her way each and every game.
To emphasize her talent, the one and only win she had last year, was a shutout. This season she has two victories including one in a shootout against the Prince Albert A&W Bears, the team that told her three years ago she wasn’t good enough to be on that club.
That is pretty harsh news for a 15 year-old, but Akre wanted to play and more than that, she knew she could play at that level.
“I’m happy I did it now,” said the incredibly shy Akre before a recent game at the Art Hauser Centre. “I met a lot of new people.”
“It’s hard being away from home, but it makes it even better when you come home to see family,” added Akre.
The distance between the star goaltender and family will become much closer at the end of the month when Akre moves back to Prince Albert for her final semester of her Grade 12 studies. Akre will continue to play with the Sharks, but by that time there will be just two weeks left in the regular season so she will commute to games from her home in Prince Albert.
Being on a last-place team doesn’t generate a lot of interest from scouts for scholarship opportunities, but Akre is fine with that. The University of British Columbia has made an inquiry, but having been away from home for three years, Akre says she has no interest in that route.
There was also some interest from a college in Ontario, but again, Akre wants to stay close to home and either study nursing or become a paramedic.
“I don’t know if I want to do that or just focus on school,” says Akre in reference to combining the game with her studies.
Of course, that could all change if the right opportunity came along, but for now Akre is happy with the way things have turned out even though there was a huge sacrifice for someone at such a young age.
“It’s been a couple of tough years,” admits Akre. “We didn’t win a game my first year and only won one last year.”
“But, I think it’s been better than if I played here,” adds Akre. “I got a lot of shots and we got through it as a team. We’re having a lot better year this year and it is a nice to finish off my Grade 12 year like this.”
Although her career as a goaltender might be coming to an end, it certainly gave her confidence for what lies ahead.