Blackfalds Bulldogs forward Jayden Joly is known for the impact he makes on the ice but this year his contributions within his community have been recognized.
The 19-year-old from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. was announced as the 2023 RBC Alberta Junior Hockey League Community Ambassador for the Viterra AJHL South Division.
The honour is given to one player in each division for their volunteer work in the community. Each team was asked to pick a player who they think was deserving of the award from their organization and the AJHL decided from the submissions.
The North Division winner was presented to Jayven Leslie of the Lloydminster Bobcats but in Joly’s case, he’s being recognized for his work through the Bulldogs Foundation.
Joly told the Red Deer Advocate it’s an honour to be chosen for the award.
“There are tons of great players who of that award too and I’m grateful that they chose me,” he said. “Just to be able to represent as a community ambassador I think it’s huge and I’m just happy to give back when I can.”
Joly is in his second season with the Bulldogs and this year he’s been able to commit a lot more time within the community since he graduated high school last year.
Since then he’s worked with the Bulldogs Foundation in many different ways but most of the time he volunteers once a week at the Central Alberta Humane Society.
“I help keep the animals’ company, play with them, and make them feel at home,” he said. “I love animals. I’ve had a couple of dogs in my life so having pets is always nice.”
He has also volunteered at local food banks and was there to help out in many community food drives. Joly explained the whole team gives back and admitted many of his teammates could have easily won the award instead of him.
“Being able to give back to the community, they come out and support us every night so I think it’s massive. It gives you a great feeling and I think everybody should be doing it,” Joly added.
As the award winner, Joly will receive a $1,000 scholarship which he will put towards his schooling when he attends Western Michigan University to play hockey in 2025-26.
“Every little bit helps so I’ll use that for college,” he said. “They’re a super successful organization I think they’ve really turned it around these past couple years and there coaching staff really stood out to me.”