Year after year, the MacPherson Tournament attracts a notable guest speaker to impart their wisdom on young hockey players at the traditional luncheon. Past speakers have included hockey royalty such as Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, and Ken Dryden and this year, another prominent name was added to the list.
Jayna Hefford, 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and five-time Olympic medalist graced the crowd as the first female guest speaker in the tournament’s 37-year history.
Following the Friday morning games, all eight teams, their coaches, and any family that made the trip to Aurora gathered in Cole Hall for the luncheon. With nearly a hundred hockey players in attendance, this sit-down meal is the official kick-off to the weekend tournament.
Once everyone was seated, the head table, consisting of School leadership, tournament organizers, and the guest speaker, are piped to their seats. Nicholas Weedon ’02, Associate Director of Advancement and luncheon emcee, welcomed Jayna to the stage with a reference to the on-ice rivalry between the Canada and U.S. hockey programs and Jayna couldn’t resist beginning with a light-hearted jab. “I knew there were a number of Americans here today, so I wasn’t going to bring up the rivalry, but there you go,” she joked.
Jayna’s message focused on the foundation she used to create such a successful career for herself and her teammates in the 18 years she spent on Canada’s national team. Over the years, she learned that living in the moment, accountability, and meticulous preparation were the significant differentiators in success and failure.
Often in defeat, the most valuable lessons are learned. Jayna spoke of how she used the loss to the U.S in the ’98 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, to fuel Canada’s gold medal win four years later in Salt Lake City, Utah. “In 2002, our group was able to block out all the noise and pressure, stay in the moment, and that was the key to success,” she said.
Perhaps the most interesting anecdote came from the way that Jayna prepared for a potential shootout situation in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. She was given two DVDs to watch in her hotel room. The first had every single successful shootout attempt she had on anyone throughout the current season. The second contained all her successful shootout attempts on U.S. goalies, “no one else was preparing like this,” she said with confidence.
She wrapped up with a strong emphasis on the importance of being a good teammate, a message that every player in the room could relate too. “Make sure as you go through these experiences you stay present, hold yourself accountable, and prepare.”
Teams in attendance for the 37th MacPherson Hockey Tournament were Edge School (Alberta), Cégep André-Laurendeau (Quebec), Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minnesota), Northwood School (New York), Boston Advantage (Massachusetts), Culver Academy (Indiana), and Victory Honda (Michigan).
Congratulations to all teams on a great tournament and if you missed the action and want to check it out, please visit the SAC Hockey YouTube channel. Shattuck-St. Mary’s won the gold medal in a rematch of last year’s final against the 1st Hockey Saints who finished 2nd with a silver. Northwood School took home the bronze.
Story by Sean Maillet