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Like so many Canadians, local hockey legend Jim Jackson’s first time lacing up the skates was on a pond when he was only three years old. His experience playing on the pond inspired him to sign up for organized hockey where he started with Kingside Park of the NASC league. It wasn’t long before Jackson made the jump to rep hockey joining the Oshawa Minor Hockey Association where he had some very fond memories.
“My most found memory (from minor hockey) would have been making my first rep team, the Oshawa Jolly Buccaneers, and being able to attend the Quebec Winterlude festival two years in a row,” said Jackson.
After completing his minor hockey, Jackson’s dreams came true when he was drafted in the first round of the OHL draft by his hometown Oshawa Generals. He would go on to have two solid seasons for the Gens before playing his two final junior seasons with Niagara Falls. He tallied over twenty-five goals in three out his four seasons in the OHL but there was one goal that really stands out in his mind.
“My fondest memory in junior would have been when I was drafted in the first round by my home town Oshawa Generals and scoring my first junior goal against the rival Peterborough Petes,” said Jackson.
When his junior career ended in 1980, Jackson made the jump to the professional ranks playing one year with Richmond of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) and one year with Muskegon of the International Hockey League (IHL). After two strong years in the minors he caught the attention of the Calgary Flames who signed him for the 1982-83 season.
Jackson was lucky enough to play with some very good Flames teams during the next three seasons.
"The greatest team and teammates I’d even played with would have to be the 1983-84 Calgary Flames when I had the opportunity to skate with Lanny McDonald, Kent Nielson, Doug Risebrough and so many great players and teammates,” said Jackson.
After three seasons with the Flames Jackson finished his professional career playing six seasons in the AHL with the Moncton Flames and Rochester Americans. He also played five games for the Buffalo Sabres in the 1987-88 season. Over the course of his career his game evolved under the guidance of some great coaching.
“A coach who was a great influence that I had a chance to play for and get to know was the late Bob Johnson who also gave me my break and opportunity to fulfill my dreams. He was a players’ coach and was respected by all his players and peers,” said Jackson.
With so many great accomplishments over the course of his career, which includes a Calder Cup with Rochester, Jackson considers playing against Wayne Gretzky as his fondest memory as a player.
“Looking back I would have to say playing against the Great Wayne Gretzky, not only at the NHL level but in Junior and minor hockey would have been my greatest memory and getting the chance to compete against one of the greatest players to lace up skates,” said Jackson.
When his playing career came to an end in 1990 Jackson made the transition to coaching and returned to his local community. Since then he has coached in Clarington, Oshawa and Whitby as well as run hockey camps with his wife Mary Giacalone (aka Scary Mary). Since retiring Jackson has also been honoured by being named to the Rochester Americans Hall of Fame and the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame.