Written by Kassia Skorzewska
Photo by Marc Lafleur
OTTAWA, Ontario – While Jenna Morais is just entering her Carleton career, Jenna Mitchell is about to finish hers. Together, they’ve had a notable impact on the Ravens women’s hockey team.
Mitchell, who is studying health sciences, is in her fifth and final year of eligibility.
Growing up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Mitchell started in hockey due to her older brothers.
“I just wanted to do everything they did, so I started when I was young. My dad actually started coaching me, I think I was about four, and I’ve been going ever since,” she said.
Prior to coming to Carleton, Mitchell played hockey on boys’ teams until she was 13. Following her time in boys’ hockey, Mitchell made the move to playing AA for the Sault Ste. Marie Wildcats.
Mitchell’s allure to Carleton was the health sciences program as well as being recruited by a former Ravens assistant coach.
“I love it here. Ever since my first year, I think there’s been great chemistry in and out of the rink and I think everyone is so much fun. It’s definitely made my time here at Carleton awesome,” she said.
Throughout her time on the team, Mitchell has played in 77 games while recording eight goals and eight assists for 16 points.
“I think that the people I’m surrounded with here on the team, they’ve definitely made me a better person both on and off the ice,” Mitchell said.
“As a player, I think I’ve definitely grown with the competitive edge some people have, and off the ice, I just think that they’re great people to be around every day,” she added.
While Mitchell’s Ravens career is finishing, her education is peaking. She hopes to go into a career as a respiratory therapist or MRI tech.
“I think this year might be the end of my hockey career. I’m ready to get a start on hopefully my masters or college to get going with a career,” Mitchell said.
Growing up 730 km away from each other, Mitchell and Morais didn’t know that they would be teammates on the Ravens some day.
Morais grew up in Burlington, Ontario, and got her start in hockey when she fell in love with it when she started.
“I started when I was nine, I played one year of house league and then I got right into it. I kind of just fell in love with the sport right when I started playing,” Morais explained.
Prior to coming to the Ravens, Morais played for the Burlington Barracudas program.
While playing for the Barracudas, she played in 78 games while recording 13 goals and 13 assists for a total of 26 points.
“It was a really good organization. The coaching staff was really good, I think management was really good, it was a good environment to be in, always a positive attitude around the team, and a lot of good athletes come out of that program,” she said.
A big factor in Morais’s decision to come to Carleton was the athletics.
“It’s a great school, great program, the support that they give you here, everyone is very nice, the staff is very nice, and Ravens head coach Pierre Alain just made it feel homey to me,” Morais said.
Not only has Morais noticed her teammates are supportive of the first years, the veterans have noticed the impact the first-year players have had so far.
“She’s definitely gotten more comfortable and confident on the ice; you can definitely see her starting to shine,” Mitchell said about Morais.
“I think with playing against these competitive and very skilled teams, she’s starting to grow as a player a lot, and I think she’s going to be a very important player on this team,” she added.
On the Ravens so far, Morais has notched two goals and two assists, good enough to be tied for first in team lead in points.
“Being here has been amazing. But my favourite moment so far has been our trip out to New Brunswick and being able to score an overtime winner goal there was very nice to see as it was my first goal at the university level,” Morais recalled.
Knowing she’ll be on the Ravens for four more years after this season, Morais hopes to grow with the teammates she came onto the team with.
“Just seeing how far we go being together. Growing with them, making plays on the ice, and winning games, scoring goals, making good plays, those little things that are going to make a difference,” Morais said.”
“For myself, I want to see improvement in all aspects. I want to keep getting better and better, and working hard everyday in the gym, on the ice, off the ice, and in school,” she added.
In her time on the team so far, Morais has noticed how much of an impact Mitchell has in the locker room.
“She’s a fifth year here, she understands what we need to do as a team, she’s very vocal, and even though she doesn’t have a letter, she’s a leader. She’s always putting in input in things that we have to do. She helps the team get better day by day,” Morais said.
“She’s very enthusiastic, she’s very welcoming, she’s easy to approach, and on the ice she’s very helpful. And anything you need to work on, she’s there, if you have to ask questions, anything,” she added.
While Mitchell leaves a legacy behind, Morais is just cementing her legacy.
“I’ve had lots of fun here, but I think my competitive hockey career might be coming to an end,” Mitchell said.