Ray Jacques played for a lot of legendary coaches during his hockey playing career. They taught him loads about the sport. Perhaps more importantly, though, they taught him things that also can be applied outside of hockey, in the business world.
The Peabody, MA native starred at Matignon in the late 1970s, leading the Warriors to a Division 1 state title in his senior season under the tutelage of Marty Pierce. He had a very successful post-grad year at Kimball Union playing for Woody Haskins and captaining a Wildcats team that went 25-3, a season that Jacques was named a Prep School All American by Pro Hockey Magazine.
Following a year at KUA, Jacques played four seasons at the University of Maine, where he played his senior season under Shawn Walsh, serving as Walsh’s first captain. Jacques also had a stint with the US National Junior Team, where he skated for Lou Vairo.
These days, Jacques runs New England Schooner Inc., an investment advisory firm that he founded in 1996. New England Schooner is consistently recognized among the top independent financial advisors in the country, now overseeing over $550 million in assets.
“Everything in hockey can relate to business,” Jacques said. “I learned tenacity from Marty Pierce. He taught me that you can’t be afraid to fail, to make a mistake, to push yourself to see what your limits are. Woody Haskins taught me leadership. He held me accountable. Shawn Walsh taught me tons. He taught me how to work smart. He also taught me to not be afraid to make changes if something wasn’t working. All the stuff I learned from him, it all applies to business.”
After concluding his career at the University of Maine, he played some minor pro hockey, also attending a Detroit Red Wings Free Agent Camp. Jacques turned down an offer to play professionally in Finland. He then returned home, and with the help of his uncle, got started in his career outside of hockey.
Jacques, a Certified Financial Planner, began his career with First Investment Corporation, working with that firm for five years before founding New England Schooner investment advisors, which is a registered representative for broker/dealer Royal Alliance, Inc.
“We represent doctors, business owners, NHL players and grandmothers,” he said. “We have great clients, a nice, cross-section that we take care of.”
New England Schooner has a pretty straightforward philosophy when it comes to business.
“The most important thing is to take care of the people you have, ” said Jacques, whose son Ray is a pre-med grad student at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, and daughter Jessie a current forward for Merrimack College, a D1 womens college hockey program. “Our philosophy is we hate losses more than we love gains. It is what we are and we stick to it.”
While he has built a highly successful financial business, Jacques has remained active in the sport he loves. He started the TeamONE program several years back, putting together teams that played in various tournaments and showcases in the off-season, both on the boys and girls side.
In 2011, Ray coached a TeamONE squad to the HNIB Boys Major Showcase championship, coming back from a three-goal deficit to win the title in overtime. A girls TeamONE club won HNIB Girls Summer Showcase crowns in 2013 and 2014, featuring several D1 players.
In fact, he skated on the Greater Boston club that won an HNIB Showcase title back in the summer of 1978.
It gives the Jacques the unique distinction of having won an HNIB Summer Showcase title as a player, a coach on the boys side, and a coach on the girls side.
“When we won in 2011 in overtime, me and my dad (who helped out coaching on the bench) hugged each other,” Jacques said. “It brought back a lot of old memories. It meant so much to us. In my opinion, very few tournaments mean as much to win as that tournament, the memories that came with it, with my dad on the bench and my son and two nephews, Alex and Chris Minter, on the ice.”
He also has fond memories of his HNIB playing experience back in high school.
“When I played, it was the only game in town,” Jacques said. “It was a real privilege to play. There was amazing talent, amazing coaches and phenomenal players. I got some real nice relationships out of it.”
In 2018, Jacques revived the TeamONE girls program. TeamONE has tournament teams at several levels, including U12, U14 and U17 and also host a Combine for top players to perform at their highest level possible. Caitrin Lonergan, a TeamONE alum and current senior at Clarkson University, and Jessica Jacques, a current forward at Merrimack College and three-time US National Development Camp participant, are coaching directors of the program.
“Everyone does a great job coaching and training,” he said. “We run the skills out of Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. Why do I do it? I want to pass along my love for hockey.”
Ray and his wife Michelle are also avid supporters of the USA Hockey Foundation. Founded in 1989, the USA Hockey Foundation serves as the charitable arm of USA Hockey enabling the mission of growing the game of hockey in the United States. Each summer the Jacques sponsor the USA Hockey Foundation Golf Classic to benefit the Foundation.
In 2008, Jacques received the Maine Black Bear Award, presented for outstanding service to the University of Maine. At the time, he was the youngest alumnus and first hockey player to receive the award. In 2018, Jacques was enshrined in the University of Maine Athletic Hall of Fame.