Paradise’s Jaxsen Healey recruited by Saskatchewan junior team

Jaxsen Healey’s adolescent years haven’t been like most kids, after having spent the vast majority of it playing hockey away from home. “I was one week into Holy Spirit and then I was out,” he said. “I still make friends and all that, so it’s fun.”

By Chad Feehan / Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Paradise native Jaxsen Healey will soon be lacing up his skates and hitting the ice with the Weyburn Red Wings in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

Coming from the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s North Shore Warriors U18 prep team, this will be Healey’s big chance to play in a junior league, as there is no Junior A hockey in Newfoundland.

“It’s awesome. Being able to sign with a junior team is unreal,” Healey said. “A lot of kids, that’s what they hope for.”

The standard route to making it on a team like the Weyburn Red Wings involves competing at a hockey camp in hopes of being selected from a crop of other players, but Healey was able to bypass this route. Happy but humble, he attributes his selection to having played a “pretty good” season.

“I guess a team just saw me and had interest in me,” Healey said. “I guess they see me as fitting on the roster.”

Healey has been playing hockey most of his life, starting with the Conception Bay Renegades at five years old, before moving on to Paradise Minor Hockey, the Pee Wee Don Johnson League, and others. In his early teenage years, Healey was inspired by watching his older brother Andrew Rose play in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League, Ontario Junior Hockey League, and eventually the North American Hockey League.

“He had success there and it helped him out in a lot of aspects of life,” Healey said. “It was cool to see him go away and play hockey and experience different stuff.”
The perfect scenario for Healey would involve having an “unreal” rookie season with the Red Wings, and getting noticed by a team in the Alberta Junior Hockey League or the British Columbia Junior Hockey league with a full-ride scholarship.

After reaching Grade 9, Jaxsen’s dad Gord Healey proudly but sadly watched his son fly off to Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Saskatchewan, where he played two years of prep school hockey.

“It’s been a long journey,” said Gord. “It’s not easy. This is his fourth year away from home.”

The decision to move away was tough for Jaxsen and wasn’t reached without some debate. Leaving his parents was a scary thought for someone so young.
“My life back here had to be cut and I had to move on,” Jaxsen said. “It was different and I was nervous.”

However, he quickly acclimated and adjusted to his new life and hasn’t looked back.

For Gord, being away from his son hasn’t been easy, especially after dropping him off in Saskatchewan for the first time.

“I had to pull over on the side of the road because it hit me emotionally,” he said. “He’s still just a boy and you’re not there to support them the way you want to… These last four years just kind of went by so quick.”

Still, Gord knew he had to provide opportunities for his son no matter what he wanted to do with his life.

“When a team wants you, what do you do, right?” he said.

Jaxsen’s dream is to hit the big leagues, playing on an NHL team in the hot Californian climate. He admits it’s tough to make it there and is too far in the future to be constantly thinking about. Still, it’s in the back of his mind.

“If I end up doing really well, to the point where I get invited to camps and NHL teams, then I’d definitely take the opportunity,” he said.

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