By Zachary Flynn
The NAIT Ooks starting goaltender is returning for a fifth and final year and doing it all for charity.
Brendan Jensen begins a campaign called Jenner’s Saves where he will be donating $2 for every save he makes in the regular season. All donations will go to the Brain Trauma Foundation. This comes after his best friend’s father passed away earlier this year after experiencing a traumatic brain injury.
“I felt like this was something I could do in my last year that not only involved the memory of him but anybody that has had to deal with a traumatic brain injury or concussion,” said Jensen. “Considering I did come back for a fifth year, I thought I’d at least do it for a good cause.”
Jensen has set up a Facebook page called “Jenner’s Saves” where he will be updating the donation total every week as the regular season plays out. He said that even if people choose not to donate, liking or sharing the page helps just as much.
Jensen estimates he will make roughly 500 saves this year, meaning he alone will be donating around $1000. He has also been working to get sponsors partnered with him this year with the hopes of raising as much money as possible.
Some of Jensen’s sponsors choose to donate flat amounts, others choose to donate the toonie per save, whether it’s over the course of the entire season or just for select games.
Some of Jensen’s sponsors include his team’s goalie coach and the U of A Augustana’s goalie, who will match Jensen’s donations for every game the two face off against each other.
Although his donations ride on him saving goals, Jensen hopes his defenders don’t let extra pucks through.
“I think they’ll even try to block more shots for me so I don’t have to spend too much money this year,” said Jensen. “Some of them throw playful jokes in practice when I give up a goal and go ‘Oh, that’s not going to count for your total on the year.’”
Jensen’s cause hits home for him, too. The goalie has had three diagnosed concussions in his playing career, one of them coming last year when he was hit from behind in a game.
“[Concussions] really have no place in sports anymore for people’s health and longevity. It’s definitely something that resonates with me,” he said. “It’s a scary thing. My three have all been mild or not very severe but I can only imagine someone going through a severe concussion and you hear about guys having to go to facilities down in the states and have to recuperate after they retire.”
Jensen appreciates the trainers and other staff he has around him at NAIT and has noticed a shift in mindset when it comes to looking after player’s heads. But he also understands that it doesn’t mean people won’t be getting concussions this year.
“Knock on wood, hopefully not too many people have concussions this year, but it’s bound to happen when you play competitive sports.”