Morgan Jackson of Courtenay has been named to the Canadian hockey team for the 2023 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship next month in Sweden. Photo supplied

Morgan Jackson of Courtenay has been named to the Canadian hockey team for the 2023 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship next month in Sweden. Photo supplied

Comox Valley hockey player named to Canada’s U18 team

A Courtenay-raised hockey player will be wearing Canadian colours next month at the 2023 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship in Östersund, Sweden.

Morgan Jackson, a Grade 11 student-athlete at Shawnigan Lake School, has been named to the national U18 team for the international tournament Jan. 8-15.

Morgan tried out for Team Canada last August, playing in a mini tournament between two Canadian teams and Finland. She made Canada’s final roster for a three-game series against the U.S., which Canada swept. Most of the team from that series is back for the World Championship.

“Putting on the Canada jersey, when I wore it during the series, it was like, ‘Wow, this is a dream come true,’” Morgan says, smiling broadly as she recalls the experience.

Canada is the tournament’s defending champion, and has medalled at each of the tournament’s 14 editions, winning gold six times.

This is Morgan’s first year at Shawnigan after playing last season with the Vancouver Island Seals of the BC Elite Hockey League. She leads the entire Canadian Sport School Hockey league female U18 prep division in scoring with 33 points (14 goals and 19 assists) in 14 games. She has remarkable chemistry with linemates Abby Whitworth and Mikayla Boarder, who are also among the league’s top five scorers.

“They really push me, I find,” Morgan said.

Morgan, who was born in Vancouver and grew up in Courtenay, is thriving at Shawnigan. She cites living on campus and the supportive teachers as some of the biggest benefits, as well as the school’s coaches.

“(Ms. Carly Haggard) cares so much about us,” Morgan says. “It’s not just hockey. It’s about how we’re feeling and when we need a rest. She’s very compassionate.”

Needless to say, Haggard is thrilled that Morgan will be wearing the maple leaf jersey, just as she is thrilled to have Morgan on her own team this year.

“It is hard to put into words what it means to have Morgan as part of this program,” she says. “She exemplifies all the traits of a high-performance student-athlete and is a true leader in every sense of the word. Her dedication, commitment, passion and work ethic are incredible. She truly is the definition of team player, constantly putting the team’s needs in front of hers.

“Having someone from Shawnigan on the national team shows just how far our program has come in such a short time. These are the types of student-athletes that we will continue to attract. Morgan should be so proud of herself and has worked tremendously hard to make this dream come true. We will certainly be cheering her from afar during the World Championship.”

TSN will broadcast 13 games from Östersund Arena, including the quarterfinals, semifinals and medal games.

Morgan has been playing hockey since she was four. She started playing alongside her twin brother, who she played with every year until 2021-22, her first year of all-girls hockey with the Seals.

She has committed to play at Northeastern University in Boston after she graduates from Shawnigan in 2024. Morgan garnered interest from several NCAA Div. 1 programs, but a visit to Northeastern’s campus proved it was the right fit. Morgan could have two national team appearances under her belt by the time she starts at Northeastern, as she will be eligible to play for the U18 team again next year. She hopes to continue playing for Team Canada at the U22 and senior levels, with the ultimate goal of competing at the Olympics.

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