Taryn Jacobs, who is Anishinaabe from Walpole Island First Nation, Bkejwanong Territory, is hoping to be a role model for young indigenous athletes who watch her play hockey.
“I want them to see that anyone can achieve anything when they put the work in,” Jacobs said. “There aren’t many female Indigenous hockey players for upcoming players to follow. Bridgette Lacquette is the only Indigenous player on the women’s National team and she has really shown the younger hockey players what’s possible.”
Billed as one of the best women’s hockey talents in Ontario, this 16 -year-old defenceman had an impactful rookie season with the PWHL’s Southwest Wildcats which saw her play in 36 games where she registered 12 points (1 goal, 11 assists) along with six penalty minutes.
“My first year with Southwest is a season I’ll never forget,” Jacobs said. “I was nervous to make the jump to the PWHL back in August and September but after a bit of adjustment, I was able to hop right in. Playing in this league I can see how it’s helped me improve in all different aspects.”
Jacobs, who is destined for the NCAA, has looked up to such Indigenous talents as Lacquette and Walpole Island’s Kaitlyn Isaac to name a few.
In the past, Jacobs got the golden opportunity to play with Isaacs and other elite talents from Ontario during the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.
“Growing up, I looked up to Kaitlyn Isaac,” Jacobs said. “The successes she made and her career in junior hockey really helped pave the path I realized I wanted to take. It’s great to be able to see an athlete accomplish their goals and even better when you’re able to watch a local one do so.”
Isaacs was named captain of Team Ontario which competed at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships. She is now playing at the NCAA level with Cornell.
“I’ve always loved to compete with other Indigenous athletes because I’m able to make connections from all over,” Jacobs said. “It means a lot to me because I’m able to represent my community. They’ve helped me come to where I am, and continue to push me further. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to show what I can do.”
Reflecting on her strong season with the Wildcats, Jacob’s goals going forward are pretty straight forward.
“One of my current goals is to continue to push myself playing in the PWHL,” she said. “I’m striving to reach university level hockey and play the game for as long as I can.”
Most importantly, she continues to be a strong role model for young Indigenous females who dream of one day playing in the PWHL, NCAA or on the women’s National team.