Jaquie Dixon Hockey Board member, 2nd right

Friday 16 February 2024

A retired federal government worker of 33 years with the Canada Revenue Agency’s IT Department, Jacquie Dixon was elected to the Hockey Eastern Ontario Board of Directors in November 2023 for a one year term.

Her journey to the HEO Board of Directors isn’t like most. She immigrated from Barbados to Ottawa with her family in the late 60’s. Growing up in Ottawa, Jacquie always found herself as the minority in her classrooms and on her sports teams, having to deal with being the only girl of colour in these settings.

Jacquie’s love of sports started at an early age when she would join in on the neighbourhood street hockey games. However, being from Barbados, Jacquie says her parents didn’t understand the need to play organized sports. Despite this, Jacquie would sneak out to play, first learning to skate and eventually joining a ringette team as hockey was not readily available for young women in the 70’s and 80’s.

When Jacquie started a family of her own, her son, Jamar, asked to begin playing hockey at six years old. Jamar started playing in Orleans, moving up to the AA level with the Gloucester Rangers and eventually making the jump to Jr A. Just like his mom had experienced growing up, Jamar usually found himself as the minority on the ice, forced to face the reality of trying to fit in while looking different than his teammates. Jacquie would always remind Jamar, “you play hockey for the love of the game”.  After playing two seasons of junior hockey, Jamar turned his focus to soccer, playing at the varsity level for St. Francis Xavier University and then going on to play professionally in Europe and in the Canadian Soccer League.

Jacquie took on her role of ‘hockey mom’ with pride, assisting where she could and even joining the Gloucester Rangers association as an Executive Member. She has found herself in numerous other roles in the hockey community spanning over the last 30 years including being a team trainer and as a coach with the Ottawa Special Hockey Heroes (now the Ottawa Special Hockey Stars) and Ottawa Bandits programs that provide special needs individuals a safe place to play hockey. She has also taken part in Black History Ottawa’s commemorative Coloured Hockey League of the Maritimes game that is hosted in Ottawa.

Having watched her son on the ice, Jacquie was inspired to join a learn to play hockey program that her work offered. She loved it so much that she ended up joining two other leagues in the city. Yet despite there being so many more opportunities for her to play hockey than there were when she was growing up, she still found herself being one of the few or only black woman on the ice.

Jacquie believes that hockey can be a driver for change when it comes to the acceptance of others. She has learned many lessons through her time in hockey including the importance of teamwork and respecting others, both of which can be applied off the ice too.

When asked if she had any advice for someone in the BIPOC community looking to get involved in hockey, she acknowledged that hockey can be an intimidating sport, with not a lot of programs aimed at welcoming minority groups to the game. She believes the key is to join a learn to skate program and get comfortable on the ice before joining a hockey team.  She would love to one day create a program aimed at diverse communities that makes individuals feel less intimidated by the sport where they gradually immerse themselves into the fun of playing hockey.

“I am excited and never would have thought I’d be able to make a difference in hockey. I look forward to this opportunity of making change with people who are ready for change and expanding diversity in hockey programs all over Eastern Ontario”, says Jacquie.  

Source: HEO Hockey Eastern Ontario