The tendy love is strong in this one! This week’s Woman of Oilersnation is Julia Sharun, an Oilers fan, goalie, and girls hockey coach who truly loves the game!
Last week I featured Jess Jackson from 100.3 The Bear! If you missed it, you can read her feature here!
If you want to be featured or want to nominate someone to be featured, send me an email or DM on Twitter!
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MEET JULIA SHARUN
KYLA: Who are you?! What’s your day job, what are your passions, what’s something interesting about you?
JULIA: Hi! My name is Julia, most people at the rink call me Jules. I work at Trailblazer RV Centre, where I am the warranty administrator and also a service writer. When someone has a problem or a concern with their RV, I am a part of the team that helps to resolve it. I actually started as a detailer with Trailblazer as a summer job back in 2010, and continued doing that during the summers until I graduated university in 2013. When I got back home to Edmonton, I was offered an opportunity to move into the service department and that is where I have been ever since.
I really enjoy working at Trailblazer because it feels like a family to me (sounds cheesy but it’s true). We have lots of long-term staff members, and everyone is willing to go outside of their job descriptions to help out with whatever is needed. I am constantly learning and growing within my roles, which is very important to me. When I first started working with RV’s, I didn’t even know the difference between a travel trailer and a 5th wheel… let’s just say I’ve come a long way!
One of my passions would have to be spending time at the lake in the summer. My family has had a place at Pigeon for most of my life, so my siblings and me have basically grown up out there. From being on the water, to yard games, to Catan battles in the evenings, I enjoy it all. I also dabble in baking from time-to-time, and I love sports in general. I played lots of different ones back in junior high and high school, including volleyball, badminton, soccer, curling, and track and field. Definitely better at some compared to others… but had fun regardless! My favourite TV show is The Office, I love cotton candy blizzards, and my current celebrity crush is Jake Johnson from New Girl.
KYLA: Can you take us through your journey of getting into hockey, playing college hockey in New Brunswick and now coaching girls hockey?
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JULIA: My parents first put me in hockey at age seven I believe. They have been my biggest supporters, and I am so grateful for everything they have done for me. I played defence for the first couple years before they finally caved and let me switch to goalie full-time. I absolutely LOVED being in net. I don’t know if it was the cool gear or getting to play the whole game, but whatever the reason I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. My dad built a rink in our backyard and I was out there all of the time with whoever I could convince to shoot pucks at me. When I wasn’t on the backyard rink, I was in the basement with my street hockey glove throwing bouncy balls at the wall trying to catch them over and over. Looking back, that must have been really annoying for everyone else in the house…
As I got older, I started spending all of my free time at the ODR. Like so many others, I met a lot of great friends there and really enjoyed the challenge of the varying skill levels. I had some amazing coaches throughout minor hockey who taught me so much, and went to a variety of camps as well but never a goalie-focused camp. I loved watching hockey on TV and learned so much about goaltending just from studying the game that way. The ODR gave me a place to try new skills out and have a blast while doing it!
In my last year of midget (now U-18), I was very fortunate to be recruited by St. Thomas University in Fredericton, NB. It was a huge goal of mine to get a scholarship to play university hockey at the CIS/U Sports level and I knew almost instantly that STU would be the perfect fit for me to achieve this. The campus was beautiful, class-sizes were small, they had the programs I was interested in, and if I worked hard for it, there was a good chance for ice time beginning in my rookie year. It also allowed me to travel to a part of Canada that I hadn’t seen yet, which I was really hoping for. I ended up playing five years at STU and graduated with both an education degree and an arts degree (psychology and history). I’m not sure I could even put into words how much I loved my time out East. Fredericton became a second home to me, and I will always be so grateful for that. I had amazing teammates and coaches, made life-long friends, and got to stop some pucks while I was at it. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to head out there for a visit.
When I got home from New Brunswick in 2013, Dan Auchenberg, my coach from my last year of U-18, reached out to me about coaching female hockey with him in Sherwood Park. Dan had been such a positive influence on me with the Edmonton Thunder, so getting the chance to learn from him again, this time in a coaching role was a no-brainer for me. We coached together in Sherwood Park for a few years before the structure of the female U-18 AAA league changed. At that point, Dan was recruited by the St. Albert Slash in the new U-18 AAA league to be their head coach and GM. Luckily Dan asked me to come with him to St. Albert and we are now headed into our 6th season together there. Heather Osgood, who had been our fitness trainer with the Thunder, has also been there every step of the way and still to this day is a big influence in my life. I feel like I am constantly saying how fortunate I have been, but it’s the truth.
KYLA: What do you enjoy most about coaching girls hockey?
JULIA: Oh, where to begin… I enjoy so many things about coaching female hockey. I love seeing the girls work hard towards their goal of playing post-secondary hockey, and ultimately achieving that goal. They are so passionate about being at the rink and getting better every day, and the energy they have is contagious whether they realize that or not. I could be having the worst day, and just showing up at the rink for practice can completely turn it around.
My experience with the St. Albert Slash in particular has been awesome. From the players to the coaches/trainers to the parents over the past five years, I have been able to be around some of the very best people. We have travelled together from coast-to-coast within Canada, and have been to various showcases/tournaments in the States. We have been successful as well, winning the Esso Cup and becoming Canadian national champs three years in a row. The sheer determination, commitment, and sacrifice that the girls demonstrated through any adversity we faced along the way to winning those titles was amazing. I am always so proud to talk about our Slash family. Winning one national title is so hard to do, but winning three in a row… unbelievable.
Coaching has given me the opportunity to give a little bit back to the game that has given me so much in life. If I have been able to be a positive influence for even just one girl, my time and effort coaching has been worth it. They have certainly influenced me in the best way, and the memories that I have from these experiences mean the world to me.
KYLA: What’s your favourite Oilers memory?
JULIA: My favourite Oilers memory is a toss-up between two. First would have to be the 2006 playoff run. I remember the feeling within the whole city was just electric during those months. Everywhere you went you saw people in Oiler jerseys, there were decked-out cars on every street, and every goal that was scored you could hear horns honking throughout the city. When Fernando Pisani scored the shorthanded OT winner in game 5 against Carolina, I’m pretty sure I cried tears of absolute elation lol. It still gives me chills to watch any highlights from those series. Of course, it was devastating for everyone when they lost in game 7 but what a run it was!
My other favourite Oilers memory was the last game at Rexall. My brother and sister surprised me with tickets to the game for my birthday, which was of course the best present ever. The atmosphere in the building was something special that night, right from O’ Canada to the ceremony at the end of the game during which so many alumni were introduced… Of course, the Oil dominating the game helped to end the Rexall days in perfect fashion. The entire experience of that game was something that I will never forget.
KYLA: What does hockey and being a part of the Oilersnation community mean to you?
JULIA: Being a part of the Oilersnation community means that I’ve always got people around who are just as passionate about the Oilers as I am. We ride the highs and lows together, and although we may not agree all of the time, in the end we all just love the team so much. How can you watch the Oilers these days and not think to yourself, “How lucky are we to get to watch Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl every single game?!” Having Oiler games to watch earlier this year during the pandemic winter was such a bright spot for me, and of course Wanye’s top-notch tweets during the games helped too. I have a one-year-old niece who I am working on turning into a new member of Oilersnation. It’s a work in progress, as her dad is a mis-guided Jets fan but we will get there!
Hockey has brought me so much in my life. Most of the places that I’ve travelled to have been because of hockey. So many of my friends are people I’ve met at the rink. If I were to remove people from my life that I didn’t meet in some way through hockey, there wouldn’t be a ton left. These days you’ll find me digging pucks out of my net in beer league and loving almost every second of it. Hockey has given me countless opportunities that I definitely haven’t taken for granted. Hopefully I’ll still be on the ice for many years to come!