Sometimes, a gal just has to sing. It doesn't matter where or when. For Jade Boisclair-Rondeau, the place is centre ice at the Canmore Recreation Centre, and the time is before each game for the AJHL's Canmore Eagles.
For the past few years, Jade's been singing "O Canada", the national anthem, before the start of each Eagles game. It's a volunteer task that she simply loves.
"I've never taken lessons of any kind," she says. "It's just something I love to do"
Managing the Nerves of an Anthem Singer
And while Jade has been performing since she was a child (and even participated in singing competitions and sang on national television), that doesn't mean there aren't still plenty of nerves involved for Jade, whose day job is Payroll Specialist for Pursuit Banff Jasper Collection.
"I am nervous every time, without fail," the 22-year-old says. "As soon as the clock strikes 6:53 PM, the nerves kick in, the butterflies come out and I start clenching my teeth."
Jade, who moved to Canmore 12 years ago with her family from Quebec, says she gives herself a pep talk, and when it's time to step on to the ice, she focuses her attention on the big red Canadian flag.
"It's really hard to fight nerves like that. I want to do my best," she says.
The Spirit of Community Hockey
Like most Canadians, Jade enjoys hockey. But she says she definitely prefers the thrill and excitement of live Junior hockey to watching an NHL game on television. Fans can get to know the players more personally, and that makes it even more fun.
"You won't catch me watching hockey on TV, but a good live hockey game is something I'm always keen for," she says.
Volunteers are essential to the Canmore Eagles, like all Junior hockey teams across the country. The Eagles receive huge support from the Bow Valley community—including Canmore and Banff.
"The Canmore Eagles Hockey Club is like a family," says Robin Aitken, volunteer coordinator for the Canmore Eagles and a fellow Pursuit team member. "They're a close knit group of people who are passionate about their community and supporting their local athletes."
Besides singing, Jade also volunteers at the Eagles games selling game tickets and 50/50 draw tickets. And while her main task involves standing in the middle of the ice in front of a crowd of people, Jade says it's not about the attention at all. It's about pitching in to a community she loves.
Photo: Jade Boisclair-Rondeau (centre) wins the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Canmore Eagles.
And the feeling is mutual. Having a singer of Jade's caliber performing the National Anthem helps get the crowd excited and adds to the experience for the everyone in attendance, players and spectators alike. "The crowd loves her and the team enjoys having a personal anthem singer," Robin says. For Jade, it's just part of who she is.
"My dad has always told me that I shine when I sing. I really do love it."
For anyone interested in joining the volunteer team for the Canmore Eagles, you can contact Robin Aitken via the Eagles' website or find her at the Pursuit office.
Banner Image courtesy of Travel Alberta.