In the Athlete Category for this year’s Hall of Fame, Field Hockey Canada honours a star player and captain that worked tirelessly for those around her.
Jean Major was the co-captain for the 1983 Women’s National Team, and played a big part in that era’s on-field success and took on a key role in mentoring the next generation of players.
Her field hockey journey began in high school when her grade-9 homeroom teacher introduced the sport to all of the girls in her class. Her curiosity for the sport began to build after that as she joined a field hockey club after the school year ended. Over time she would end up catching the attention of coaches in the region.
This included the University of Toronto’s head coach Liz Hoffman, who ended up recruiting her when she finished high school. During her time at U of T, Major helped the team win two national championships, four league titles, and was the co-winner of the university’s award for female athlete of the year.
Her work ethic and time management were put to the test even more so when she became a member of the Canadian national team while still in university in 1977.
“I trained hard because not only did I want to make the team, I wanted to be on the field,” said Major.
Major then took on even more responsibility, when she became co-captain with hall of famer Shelley Andrews one year after graduating from university. As co-captain, Major helped take Canada from back-to-back fifth-place finishes at the World Cup to a silver medal in 1983.
Major’s time with Team Canada then culminated with an appearance in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, when she was a part of the first Canadian women’s team to play field hockey at the Olympic Games.
“Once we made the Olympics, it was like going to Disneyland. It was so phenomenal,” said Major.
After her playing career, Major then turned her attention towards giving back to the game as a school teacher, teaching primarily PE in the Halton School District.
“I realized that it was high school and not the Olympics so I let the girls enjoy their success and have fun along the way,” said Major.
When looking back on her career, she hopes to be remembered for her humility and for how fortunate she was.
“I just want to be remembered as a humble athlete who was very fortunate to be born when I was, and to be playing when Canada was at its finest, I think,” said Major.
Congratulations to Jean Major on being inducted into the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame.