Every band has its leader, every company has its CEO and every hockey team has its captain. Yet Jaime Fox is not your average captain. The UConn senior has a rare combination of being brilliant on the ice and funny off it. She’s a leader and a prankster all in one.
Fox has been a staple on the Huskies’ defensive unit over her four years with the team, recording 44 points in 146 games, but she brings a lot more to the team than what shows up on the box score. Whether it’s pranking a teammate by taping equipment to her stall or hyping the team up between periods, Fox has been a huge influence on her teammates.
“I really look up to her,” sophomore Natalie Snodgrass, the leading scorer on the team, said. “Just because…she can be a really awesome teammate but a really good captain as well.”
Fox grew up about 20 minutes outside of Toronto in Markham, Ontario, where she comes from a family of hockey players. Her dad grew up playing goalie, and although her mom started later, the family considers her a “star forward.” So, it’s no surprise that Fox started playing hockey at six years old, and her younger sisters, Dani (who is her teammate at UConn now) and Jayden, followed in her footsteps.
When she was young, her parents would make a rink in their backyard, and Fox and her sisters would be out for hours after school playing hockey until it was pitch black. It’s safe to say Jaime was destined to be a great hockey player from the start.
Fox was originally a forward, but she transitioned to defense at age 10 per a coach’s request. In the following years, it became her dream to play hockey in college.
“Once I found out that you could play hockey in college, I wanted to,” she said. “My last year of midget was when it was an actual possibility.”
After high school, Fox moved to Whitby, Ontario, where she played junior hockey for the Whitby Wolves. Madison Badeau, a teammate of hers on the Wolves, was recruited to UConn a year before she was, and Fox said that she heard nothing but good things about the school from Badeau.
When Fox got recruited and visited UConn for the first time, she knew it was the place for her. In fact, she told head coach Chris MacKenzie on that visit that she knew she wanted to come to UConn.
“This was the campus that I was the most taken with,” Fox said. “Right away, I was like this feels like home, this is awesome. The coaches were great. Everyone was so nice when I came and visited.”
MacKenzie said the combination of her skills and her enthusiasm about UConn made her a really easy player to want to recruit to be part of the program.
“We saw a reliable, steady defenseman,” he said. “When she visited here, she impressed me with her maturity, and I could tell she really liked UConn.”
She loved UConn then, and she still loves it now. Fox said that she has gotten so much from her four years as a Husky. She’s become a better hockey player and a better person thanks to the dedication of the coaches.
“The coaches want to shape you,” she said. “As much as they want to make you a better player, they’re trying to make us better people as well to set us up for the real world.”
MacKenzie said from the time she was a freshman, Jaime stepped in and performed at a high level as the team’s most reliable defenseman, and her skills have only improved.
Fox said she believes her smarts are the best part of her game. Her teammates agree, one even calling her hockey IQ “insane.”
But apart from being a great player, a captain has another equally important job as a leader. MacKenzie said he thinks Fox has stepped into the captain role very well.
“She’s done a great job,” he said. “The consistency has been there, the level of energy has been there and her performance has been there, so I think she’s done a great job.”
Fox said it has been easy to captain this team because she and her teammates are all so close. She said she just has to have empathy and hold people accountable, which has been very easy to do with this team of “21 best friends.”
Her younger sister Dani, who is now a freshman on the team, said having Jaime, who she has looked up to her whole life, as a leader of the team has made her adjustment to the school and the team much easier.
“All my questions that I had about the school and even about some of the plays that we run in practice, I could just go and ask her, and she’d be really cool about answering with detail,” Dani Fox said.
Fox said she was really excited to have Dani on the team because she has enjoyed her time at UConn so much and it’s awesome to see Dani have the same great experience.
Now that her time at UConn is coming to an end, Fox reflected on her career as a Husky. Her favorite memories were when they beat New Hampshire in triple overtime in the Hockey East Tournament her freshman year, and when they beat Boston College to advance to the Hockey East Finals for the first time in program history last year. However, her favorite part of being a member of the UConn women’s hockey team has nothing to do with wins and losses.
“My favorite part is coming to the rink every day,” she said. “Everybody makes me laugh. I always have a smile on my face. Every single person on that team knows how to make a bad day better, and it’s been the best.”
As much as Fox praises her teammates, they have equally great things to say about her.
“Being part of the team with her for the last four years has been awesome,” senior Nora Maclaine said. “She’s supportive, she will put it all on the line for the team and she’s just an all-around great teammate.”
“[She brings] a whole lot of laughs,” Snodgrass said. “She’s just somebody who everybody wants to talk to.”
MacKenzie praised Fox for all that she has brought to the program.
“Her consistency over the course of four years has been outstanding,” MacKenzie said. “It’s a model for all our other players to see, and it’s something we’ll miss when she graduates.”
Fox has no plans of leaving her connection to hockey behind after graduation. She said she would like to continue her hockey career after she graduates, potentially in Europe, but if not, she would at least like to remain involved in hockey in some way.
Fox will graduate with a degree in accounting in the upcoming months, but her legacy at UConn as a captain and a teammate will live on for years to come.
Danny Barletta is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.