By Ross Forman – She’s the co-op Evanston captain and a 4-year varsity player, yet Jennifer Maguire is still looking to improve, always.
She wants to up her skill level and has been working hard on her skating, puck protection and puck handling.
“I take advantage of every ice-time opportunity, trying to help our team get as much out of this season as possible,” she said. “I think I play a smart, well-positioned game. I am, for the most part, in the proper position and always am trying to think two plays ahead.”
Maguire, who lives in Evanston and attends Evanston Township High School, is a left-handed shooting center in uniform No. 21. She also plays for the Wilmette Braves 19U team.
“Our team definitely improved last season, on and off the ice. The dedication to the team from all the players was much better. While we didn’t win as many games as we would have liked, we continued to get better throughout the season and finished strong. Personally, I thought that I had a good season.”
Evanston went 3-10-1 last season in Metro Girls play, then 3-10 in the Founders round.
Maguire led the team with 7 goals, 3 assists in league play, then 4 goals, 5 assists in Founders games.
“I have had a number of coaches during high school, all of whom have influenced my game. They have taught me a lot about hockey and the benefit of hard work, but have also built a platform that has allowed me to develop as a leader. They have helped me decide what hockey will be in my future,” Maguire
Evanston team manager is Joe Maguire. Yep, Jennifer’s dad.
“My favorite hockey memory came from a game against Latin during my sophomore season,” she said. “I was on the ice, in a scrum in front of the net, when my team scored the game-tying goal with less than :01 on the clock. The game had been decidedly one-sided the first two periods. We stormed back in the third and I will always remember the celebrations we shared after each goal. When we tied the game, it felt as if we had won the Stanley Cup. I will never forget that feeling of pure joy.”
Maguire was an All-State player last season and has spent the extended off-season to improve her speed and more. “I have made my shot harder and faster,” she said. “I also got better at making sure everyone on the team is included and working hard.
“I feel a little more pressure this season. Last year, I was co-captain and the other co-captain was a senior. This year, I am the only captain, so I feel I have to step up and encourage team involvement and effort.”
Maguire is one of two seniors on Evanston. “I think I have helped my younger teammates navigate the team and the coaches. I also think my upbeat personality helps the team spirit,” she said. “A lot of my teammates come to me with questions, as they know I have experience and can help get their questions answered. I also think people follow my lead on the ice. I play as hard as I can every practice and do my best to make sure everyone understands the drills we are doing.”
Maguire is still undecided on her college plans, though she wants to major in kinesiology/exercise science in hopes of becoming an athletic trainer.
Maguire also plays softball for the Wildkits and the first baseman is looking forward to her first varsity season in the spring.
“I think that the leadership skills I learned from hockey help with my team spirit and participation in softball,” she said. “Playing softball helps with my coordination and keeping me in shape during hockey’s off-season.”
Maguire also is an honor student. Her favorite subject is science, specifically, anatomy. Her least favorite subject always has been English, she said.
Slapshots With … Evanston Center Jennifer Maguire
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Patrick Kane or Connor McDavid
Favorite Sports-Themed Movie: Slapshot
Favorite Pre-Game Meal: “If the game is early, I like to eat eggs. If the game is later, I like to eat pasta.”
Celebrity You’d Like To Meet: Michelle Obama
Camp Counselor: For the past two summers. “Being a camp counselor helped with my leadership skills because I learned how to work with a variety of different personalities.”
It’s A Fact: She participates in the Evanston Youth Hockey Mentorship Program. “I enjoy helping to coach kids and helping improve their skills.”
Best Hockey Tip: “My Dad has always told me to try just as hard in practice as I do in games. He always says, ‘You practice like you play, so give 100 percent, 100 percent of the time.’ This has been great advice.”
Teammate Who You Could See As A Hockey Coach: Amelia LaPata
Hardest Slapshot On Your Team: Margot Durston
Most Accurate Shot: Camryn Faude
Fastest Skater: MJ Blackmore
Best High School Uniform (other than Evanston): Loyola Academy
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.