MONTREAL - If goaltender Keith Kinkaid is thrilled about his upcoming move north of the border, the same can be said for his girlfriend, Jaclyn Phillips.
She's Canadian, so residing on home turf on a full-time basis has its advantages.
"She's very excited about it because you can't be in the U.S. for more than 180 days," explained Kinkaid with a laugh. "She works out of Toronto. Her hometown is Saint John, so she'll basically be right in the middle. She actually lived in Montreal for three months on exchange, and then she learned French. She knows a little bit about the city, so she can help out."
The couple met last September after one of Kinkaid's former equipment managers in New Jersey made the introduction.
"He's from Saint John, so he kind of just linked us up. We were both single and gave it a shot," recalled the 30-year-old Farmingville, NY native, who inked a one-year contract with the Canadiens on Canada Day. "She came down for a visit, she was awesome, and she just kept on coming for visits."
And Jaclyn has been in Kinkaid's corner ever since, supporting him through the most recent NHL campaign and providing some valuable guidance and inspiration along the way, too.
She's a master fitness trainer, fitness model, online coach, yoga teacher, movement expert and stunt woman by trade, and a former bodybuilder as well.
"Jaclyn's been a great influence. I've learned a lot from her when it comes to nutrition and working out. Teams have those resources anyway, but just having it by your side basically 24/7, she's been good with that. I admire her dedication. She used to compete and told me all about her strict diet," praised Kinkaid. "I want to get back to where I was at the start of last season and even two seasons ago, so she's been helping me. We've been on the right path together. We'll do cardio together and we've even done some classes."
According to Kinkaid, Jaclyn does everything she can to make certain he's staying on track.
"Sometimes, she'll tell me no if I'm trying to snack. She'll give me a better option. Sometimes, I might even have to help her with it right back," joked Kinkaid. "But, she knows exactly what your body needs in order to be at its peak performance. She also knows exactly what my game day routine is and when I have to nap. She's definitely had a positive impact on me."
The six-year NHL veteran is especially appreciative of Jaclyn's unwavering support when his time in the Garden State came to an abrupt end in February following a trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Her presence leading up to signing day with Montreal was big, too.
"She came with me for the ride to Columbus. It's an eight-hour drive. I'm not a big fan of long drives, so she kept me entertained there. We got to travel a little bit. She helped me with the move," remembered Kinkaid, who was dealt at the deadline on February 25. "Then with the process of being a free agent, she knew it was stressful. You didn't know where you were going to go. She was there for everything and always saying that everything was going to work out. I use that all the time now, and everything has worked out so far."
It certainly has, both personally and professionally.
"Just the overall happiness I have with her, we have the same interests and sometimes we literally say the same words at the same time. It's kind of weird," cracked Kinkaid. "But, she's been tremendous."