Jefferson Hagen / MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – When it came time to choose a jersey number with the MacEwan Griffins, Shyla Jans had no doubt which one she wanted.
It was always going to be No. 33 – the number her late father, George Lemoine, wore throughout his playing days.
An accomplished goaltender, who once played junior hockey in Morinvile, Lemoine passed away in 2014 while Jans was in her final year of high school.
"Obviously I stayed in hockey because of him," explained the Griffins forward. "Hockey's where we've always been. I always remembered playing on the outdoor rink with him and he'd be at all my practices and games.
"It's one of those things where playing hockey is where I feel him most. That's the same as my brother, too. That's also why I have number 33. It was always his number."
Inspired by how much her father did for her in her hockey career, Jans has continued to pay it forward. In between commitments with the Griffins and her schooling she is volunteering as an assistant coach with her younger brother Joshua Lemoine's bantam KC Sabres team.
"I go to a lot of my brother's games and he wore No. 3, which is as close to No. 33 as he got," said Jans. "But he likes that number now. We have those 6 a.m. practices all the time for him.
"Obviously, I drive him around to hockey a lot. I wouldn't say it's a full commitment, but I help out whenever I can with his team.
"We obviously spend a lot of time at the rink. Every weekend, there's at least two or three games going on between me and him."
Jans has two of them this weekend when she leads the Griffins into an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference series against cross-town rival NAIT (Friday, 7 p.m., NAIT Arena, and Saturday, 6 p.m., Downtown Community Arena).
Her contributions to the Griffins have already been well documented since she first joined the program in 2015. Jans has been named to ACAC women's hockey second team all-conference teams after both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
In 2017-18, she has three goals and five points in 10 games, including a big goal against NAIT when they last visited the DCA on Oct. 13.
"She comes up in really big moments for us," said Griffins head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "She's kind of an unassuming offensive forward yet has been one of our biggest contributors since her first year.
"She's regularly in the mix for first and second all-star teams in the league and one of the highest point getters."
Jans, who now has 21 goals and 33 points for the Griffins in 54 career regular season games, has a knack for scoring timely important goals for the defending ACAC champs.
"I think it's part of Shyla's nature where she's one of my most consistent players emotionally," said McAlpine. "Whether it's in the gym or on the ice for practice or a game, you get the same effort and same intensity in all of those situations. I think it's easier for her to transfer over into these situations and not get too up or too down. She scores goals against the weaker opponents, as well, but she's able to rise in those tougher situations."
It was her University of Alberta Pandas teammate and good friend Leah Copeland – now an assistant coach with that program – who initially made McAlpine aware of Jans' talent when she was at the helm of STFX Hockey Academy's female prep team.
"She was a big Shyla fan," McAlpine explained. "Leah and I are very similar in our coaching style with the types of players that we like, so there was a lot of trust there.
"When I went out and watched Shyla and saw the offensive side of her game she had to offer I knew she'd be a good fit with us."
The scoring touch clearly runs in the family, too. Her cousin is Griffins women's soccer striker Meagan Lemoine, who led that team in scoring with seven points in 13 games.
"She had an unreal season – definitely one of their top players," said Jans. "I've been out to quite a few soccer games and watched her play. My team's been out there a couple of times, too. I know a lot of their team supports us, as well."
That family support continues to drive Jans, whose mother Alisha and three other siblings are also there for her. And every time she steps on the ice, she feels her father's presence as she carries on his hockey legacy.
ICE CHIPS … Spectators can get in free to Saturday's game if they bring a pair of kids pajamas to donate to the Stollery Children's Hospital as part of the PJs by Olivia campaign.