Jessica Vance – Athlete
Born in Lethbridge, Alberta in 1997, Jessica Vance and her family moved to Prince Albert when she was four. The youngest of three children, Jessica would follow along and intently watch her older siblings’ sports. She was very active and competitive from a young age, trying a variety of sports, but would excel in softball and hockey.
In recreational and elementary school athletics, Jessica established herself as a strong physical force, even against older boys. She competed in many activities including: lacrosse, flag football cross country, badminton, basketball, volleyball and track. She was female athlete of the year at John Diefenbaker elementary school in 2011.
In softball, Jessica started at age five and would play in older age classes in both house league and developmental levels. She played in the Aallcaann Developmental Fastpitch Organization (ADFO) for nine years beginning at age eight, as primarily shortstop and catcher. The Saskatoon Hustlers Bantam team, added Vance to their roster for the 2012 Bantam Canadians in Brantford, Ontario. She worked her way into the starting outfield position for the team and was named a Canadian All-Star outfielder at the event. In 2013, she helped lead the Bantam Aces to a gold medal at the Western Canadian Softball championships in Winnipeg. In addition, Vance was named an all-star for the Girls Prairie League of Softball (GPLS) during the three seasons she played. In 2015, Vance was with her Aces team at the Midget Canadian Softball championships in Montreal when she suffered a knee injury. Despite her injury, she was able to still compete for Team Saskatchewan in the Western Canada Summer Games later that summer. At the Fort McMurray, Alberta, Vance drove in the game-winning RBI in the bronze medal game.
Although Vance had success in many sports, hockey was her passion. Starting at the pre-novice level, she would gravitate toward being a goaltender and become a student at that position. When she started playing female hockey, she would play in older age classes, and, in fact, played for the Prince Albert Midget AAA A & W Bears for five years, starting at age 13. During her time with the Bears, Vance received recognition in the Saskatchewan Midget Female AAA Hockey League in 2013-14 and 14-15 receiving the Brittony Chartier top goalie award and first team all-star. She was also named second team all-star in 2011-12. She is the all-time league leader in games played (91), wins (48) and shutouts (16). She was the starting goaltender for Team Saskatchewan at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, placing fourth, with a highlight eliminating the host province in a shoot out.
For her achievements in softball with the Aces and hockey with the A & W Bears, Vance was named the 2015 Prince Albert Kinsmen Club Female athlete of the year.
Vance would move on from minor hockey to a stellar career in USports with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. In 2017-18, Vance was named the Canada West Player of the Year and USports First Team All-Canadian. In that same year, the Huskies were Canada West finalists, qualifying for nationals where they finished fourth. Vance was named the Huskies U of S Women’s’ hockey team MVP in 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. She finished her Canada West career atop or near the top of many lifetime individual statistics. Vance was number one all time save percentage (.946), second in goals against average (1.17) and second in shutouts (20), tied for ninth in wins (38). She also has the fourth longest shutout streak in Canada West history playing 273 minutes and 41 seconds of shutout hockey. Of note, Vance accomplished these goals, playing 3 years of her five years of eligibility, playing in only 70 USport games.
On the international front, Vance was named to Team Canada for the 2019 FISU World University games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Vance played five games for Team Canada, starting four, including two playoff games. Team Canada and Vance would go on to win a silver medal, losing in the gold-medal game 2-0 to host Russia (including an empty net goal). In those five games at FISU, Vance finished with a save percentage of .959 and a 1.12 goals against average.
Vance has been a role model for young female athletes in Prince Albert, volunteering to run skill clinics and mentor those with like-minded goals. She is completing her Masters in Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto.