Kindersley's Jessie Herner currently plays for the Prince Albert Northern Bears of the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League. But in a couple years, the right-handed defenceman will continue her young hockey career as a college player.
Herner has accepted to join the University of Saskatchewan's women's hockey program for the 2020-2021 season. She's in her second year with the Northern Bear where she has 2 goals and 3 assists from the blue line and has remained disciplined with 0 penalty minutes to her name.
It's common for grade 12 students at this time of the year to receive offers from post-secondary institutions during their final year of midget and high school. But Jessie, who is half way through her grade 11 year at Carlton Comprehensive High School in Prince Albert, has managed to secure her hockey and academic futures with another year of midget next winter.
As she explains, this is a dream opportunity for her to join the Huskies women's hockey team as she works towards following a family member's footsteps.
Her sister is 23-year-old Kori Herner who played for the Huskies from the 2013-2014 season until her final year of school in 2017-2018. Like her older sibling, Jessie is leaning towards pursuing education when she attends the U of S in a couple years.
Many people from her hometown have congratulated her since the news broke out. Even the university's women's hockey Twitter account took the time to applaud Jessie on her commitment to the team.
Here, Jessie recalls how her family and friends reacted to the big news.
Another part of her decision to accept the U of S's offer had to do with location. A big factor for her in making this choice was to stay close to Kindersley while studying and playing hockey; Saskatoon being under two hours away from her home was another reason why this was the perfect course of action.
She admitted a lot of stress has now been taken off her shoulders since the decision and she can now invest her full focus on hockey going forward. And there's a lot for the blueliner to look forward to this season and next.
The Northern Bears have been pretty successful this season thus far, sitting in third place in the league standings with four more games to go before playoffs. The Bears won't play those last few games until February now, but will go into them on a three-game winning streak after finishing January with a record of 4-1-1-0.
Herner says the team has been enjoying their time on the ice together as they work towards locking down their position near the top of the table and prepare for the postseason. But she knows her and her teammates have a lot of work to do to accomplish their goal.
She added how the icing on the cake to her midget hockey career will be the Bears and the City of Prince Albert hosting the Esso Cup next year, which is a national female midget hockey tournament. This, along with her success at the midget level so far and her commitment to the University of Saskatchewan, has Herner only going up from here.