Originally Jenna Fitzsimons wanted nothing to do with ice hockey, despite her little brother beginning to play the sport. Instead she opted for figure skating. However, that all soon changed.
“When my brother started to play my father asked me if I wanted to play too and I told him no I’d rather just skate,” she said. “My mother and I would go to my little brother’s games and I was so bored watching him play. Eventually I figured that if I was playing, I wouldn’t be so bored.”
Fitzsimons first laced up the ice hockey skates around third grade when she began taking part in the Framingham beginners program. About a year and a half later she was playing for the Demons, a team out of Westborough, where she began learning how to play the different positions on the ice; center soon became her favorite as she liked moving the puck into the offensive zone and attacking the opposition’s goalie. She also enjoyed taking face-offs and having no real restrictions on where she can and can’t go on the ice.
Following playing for the Demons, Fitzsimons began playing for a Westborough club team, the Lady Crusaders, where the level of play increased.
“I love playing for the Lady Crusaders as it was an all-girls team that got to play and beat all boys teams,” she said, “It was a lot of fun.”
Prior to getting to high school she began playing for the Spitfires. When she got to high school age, she knew that Ashland belonged to a co-op girls ice hockey team that was made up of a variety of local high schools and wanted to continue playing hockey and felt this was the next step.
“The Medway-Ashland team was made up of many different towns with a lot of new people. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, all the girls were very friendly and welcoming,” the incoming Ashland freshman said. “The first few practices were a little nerve-wracking because it was al new to me and I was one of the younger players, but eventually the nerves went away.”
Prior to the tryouts, Fitzsimons had hoped that she would do well enough to land herself on the varsity squad. She had heard that the Medway-Ashland team weas pretty good, so she knew in order to make the varsity team she was going to have to push herself to be her best.
During pre-season the freshman saw a lot of time playing both center and right-wing on a consistent basis. It didn’t matter what position she was playing as she felt both were very similar and the transition between the two was not that difficult.
Once she found her way onto the varsity squad, her next goal was to be playing on one of the top lines. Fitzsimons opened this season as a right-winger on the second line and about half way through the season was elevated to the first line, where she has been since.
“Getting to play on the top line made me so happy as all my hard work had paid off,” she said.
While goal scoring is something that she truly loves, she’ll do what ever it takes to make the team successful.
“Coming into the season I really didn’t set any goals on the exact number of goals that I wanted to score, but scoring is something that I absolutely love doing,” Fitzsimons said. “But scoring isn’t everything. Making plays that helps benefit the team as a whole is also important and I’ll do whatever it takes to make this team a winner.”
Currently Fitzsimons has netted six goals for Medway-Ashland, who is In a dogfight to earn a spot in the State Tournament. The squad is three wins away from continuing their season with four games left on their regular season schedule. While it’s going to be an uphill battle, Fitzsimons has all the confidence in the world that her teammates will get the job done.
Although only playing in her first year, the freshman has set a goal for herself. She would like to score 100 points before her high school career is over. According to Medway-Ashland Coach Karl Infanger, it’s something that may be possible, especially playing on the first line with sophomore Maggie Lester, who is the team’s leading scorer.
“Thus far Jenna has worked hard all season and has been a welcomed surprise playing a regular shift with Maggie,” Infanger said. “Maggie and Jenna are the future of this team.”
Once hockey season is over, Fitzsimons hangs up the gear momentarily to play lacrosse for the high school during the spring. She will return to the ice in late August, where she’ll play a half a season in the fall league right up until it’s time to lace up the skates once again for the high school co-op team.
Although she still has three and a half years left at Ashland High School, Fitzsimons is already contemplating playing girls ice hockey on the collegiate level.
“It would be a great opportunity to play in college,” the Ashland freshman said. “While it would be exciting, it’s not one of my main goals, but I still have another three years to think about that.”
While college ice hockey definitely would be the next step in her progression of the sport, right now Fitzsimons and her Medway-Ashland teammates are working hard at advancing into the tournament.