(FREDERICTON, NB) The MacLean name is returning to the Aitken Centre, and hockey at UNB.
Jenna MacLean, the niece of former Varsity Reds men’s hockey standout Dax MacLean, has signed a U SPORTS Letter of Intent, and will join the re-born Varsity Reds women’s hockey team.
“My grandfather and uncle both played hockey at UNB, so having the opportunity to be a third generation Varsity Red seems pretty exciting to me,” said MacLean.
The 17-year-old MacLean, from Wilcox, Saskatchewan, is currently playing defence for the Notre Dame Hounds, at the prestigious Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. She was also a member of Team Saskatchewan at the 2017 national women’s U18 championship, where she served as an assistant captain.
“When I visited UNB, the atmosphere reminded me a lot of Notre Dame,” said MacLean. “Being a small-town kid, attending a smaller university was key for me. UNB also has a lot of history and tradition, some of which is close to me and my family.”
MacLean takes that history seriously. She plans on wearing number 47, to commemorate the year her grandfather was born.
Paul MacLean played for the UNB Red Devils during the late 1960s. He passed away last January.
Dax MacLean played four seasons with the Varsity Reds men’s team, helping UNB to its first national championship, in 1998.
He remains among the program’s all-time leading scorers, and was selected to the 1990’s All-Decade team.
“This is such a great and exciting time for Jenna and our entire family,” said the scorer of 96 goals as a V-Red. “I know Jenna is thrilled at the opportunity of helping build a new program and putting UNB women’s hockey back on the map.”
“She’s a mobile blue-liner who sees the ice particularly well,” said Varsity Reds head coach Sarah Hilworth, who’s excited about adding another chapter to the MacLean history at UNB.
“I’ve seen Jenna grow and develop as a player over the past five years,” said Hilworth. “She’ll bring some dynamic skill to our back end, and she’ll wear the UNB jersey with pride. Once we found out the hockey lineage, we knew this would be the best place for Jenna to grow and develop as both a hockey player and ambassador for UNB."
At the national U18 women’s championship, MacLean and Team Saskatchewan fell in the bronze medal game to Team BC, which included future Varsity Reds Kendra Woodland and Myah Bowal.
“Being part of the foundation of a new program is also exciting, and I am very grateful to be a part of something so big,” said MacLean.
Jenna MacLean will join the Varsity Reds when they return to Atlantic University Sport in the 2018-19 season.
She plans on studying Science while at UNB.