International Retirement and New Careers @MeghanAgosta @TessaB25 @OchoCahow #Blog #WomensHockey

What a week this was in Canada and the United States for three tremendous ladies that I am fortunate to work for.  These three are Meghan Agosta-Marciano, Tessa Bonhomme and Caitlin Cahow.

Let's start with Meghan.

Meghan has been a member of the past 3 Olympic Championships for Canada.  She is a graduate of Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA and has a degree in Criminology.  If you get a degree in Criminology, you would certainly like to use your degree at some point in your life.

This past summer on the heels of her victory in Sochi, Meghan made a career decision.  I want to become a police officer and still play hockey.  With the blessing of Hockey Canada, she was able to take interviews in different locales throughout the nation and felt at home enough to apply to the Vancouver Police Department.  

On September 18, she was sworn in as one of 16 new recruits to become a member of VPD and  to protect and to serve the people of Vancouver who only 5 years ago had the opportunity to cheer her and her teammates on to a home Olympic championship over the United States.  During the Olympics, Meghan was the MVP and leading scorer of the 2010 Olympic Games.

Meghan will continue her journey to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea and will suit up for Hockey Canada again in international play and balance her policing responsibilities.  She will most likely not though be playing in the Four Nations Cup in Kamloops, BC though because she will be at the police academy, but look for her return in time for the 2015 IIHF Women's World Ice Hockey Championship in Sweden.

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Caitlin Cahow

Caitlin had to retire in Spring 2013 due to Post Concussion Syndrome.  She was able to make it back and even won her last competition in the CWHL with the Boston Blades, but she knew she was one hit away from a lengthy rehab just like her previous time and decided to make the prudent move and finish her law degree at Boston College.

Over the next 6 months, Caitlin made the decision to talk about her sexual orientation in public and embrace causes that were near and dear to her heart by her own choice.  In November 2013, President Obama made his selections to be on the United States' Official Olympic delegation to represent the nation in Sochi.  His selection of Caitlin was a clear message from the United States that as a nation we represent diversity as opposed to what the messaging was coming from the Russian Parliament, President and Prime Minister.  

Caitlin handled herself as any ambassador of the United States should do and that was with class, not to duck any issues with the international media and be a proud American cheering on her fellow citizens in international play after the Opening Ceremonies.

Caitlin was offered the opportunity to serve the United States again this past Spring of 2014 and that was to use her knowledge as an athlete and join the President's Fitness, Nutrition and Health council.  Honored, Caitlin accepted a 4 year term and was sworn in at the White House on September 15, 2014. 

Additionally, now living in Chicago, Caitlin has now taken the Illinois Bar Exam awaiting her results and is a clerk for the United States Bankruptcy Court.  A little over a year and a half removed from taking her USA jersey off, she is still representing her nation today.

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Tessa Bonhomme

When do you say goodbye.  You say goodbye when you know you have done all that you needed to do and you know what exactly you want to do next.  

On September 17, Tessa made her official retirement from international hockey and announced her Hockey Canada days were over, but not her days on the ice in a game she still loves.  Playing on the national team though takes a long term commitment and Tessa has been able to find something that makes her enjoy and be as passionate about her time in hockey and that is being a broadcaster.

At the conclusion of her time on CBC's Battle of the Blades, she was offered the opportunity to take a chance and become a broadcaster with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment's Leafs TV and GOL Canada TV covering Toronto FC.  Early on being on the other side of the camera had its challenges.  Challenges though are things that every athlete knows that they can overcome with the right guidance, coaching and most importantly work ethic.  When you make mistakes or you aren't quite comfortable after a game, you go back and look at the tape and figure out how to do better.  This was never lost on Tessa and she progressively become a better broadcaster with thanks to caring producers like Frank Hayward amongst others at Leafs TV.

Putting her broadcast career on hold (which she was balancing between Hockey Canada + the Toronto Furies of the CWHL) and moving to Calgary for another opportunity to win another Gold medal at the Olympics for Canada, the Olympic dream was cut short when she was let go from the team in November 2013.  Having moved back to Toronto, she began her job again with Leafs TV in January 2014 and was given the opportunity by TSN to work on national television during their rebroadcast of her 2014 Women's National team play at the Olympic Games in Sochi.  While this might have been a sad note for some, a true broadcast professional could handle it.

After the Olympics and back on Leafs TV / GOL TV Canada, both TSN and Rogers gave her additional opportunities, but in the summer of 2014, TSN gave her an entirely different role and that was to take a shot at hosting a sport she had no connection to, tennis.  Just as Canadian Eugenia Bouchard was taking the world by storm with a historic run at the French Open, Tessa got to cover it in-studio in Toronto.  Following the French, she was given the opportunity to work on Wimbledon and TSN was sold.

With the launch of TSN's new channel offerings on August 25, 2014, they were give her the opportunity to become an anchor for SportsCentre.  Officially, TSN named her as a full-time member of their SportsCentre staff on the day of her retirement from international competition and begin her new career.

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All three of these ladies are driven to be the best that they can be whether that be in court, in law enforcement or covering the latest in sports.  They learned all of this in a team environment that came from ice hockey.  A great game that distilled teamwork, leadership, adversity, championships, defeat and hard work to what is next.  THE GAME OF LIFE.

This is one game that I know that the 3 of them will always have a leg up on their competition and am very proud to work for all of them.

 

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No Rest For The Weary - Tessa Bonhomme / Caitlin Cahow

To say that I work for some really unique women is an understatement but for this blog, I want to single out two of them, one from Canada and the other from the United States.  

The first is a young lady that is constantly on the move and this past week certainly highlighted what I mean, but while this week might seem busy, this is a microcosm of what I have seen her do on many, many occasions over the past 3 years since she was on a reality show called Battle of the Blades.  Her name is Tessa Bonhomme and here is a small look at the week of March 17 - 24, 2014:

Monday - work at Maple Leafs TV / GOL TV Canada with an emphasis on Toronto FC (MLS)

Tuesday - work at Leafs TV / GOL TV Canada, head to Markham, ON for the CWHL Awards Banquet

Wednesday - play CWHL Clarkson Cup opening game, following game go to Toronto for Maple Leafs home game, Gate 5 show and post-game (Tampa Bay)

Thursday - work at Leafs TV; head to Markham for CWHL Clarkson Cup game

Friday - work at Leafs TV on their practice television show; head to Markham for CWHL Clarkson Cup game

Saturday - play CWHL Clarkson Cup Championship game, after clinching championship in OT and doing her player media obligations, head back to Toronto for Leafs TV Gate 5 show and post-game (Montreal), catch up with teammates and head to bed at 1 am

Sunday - fly to Ottawa in the morning for Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest at the Canadian Tire Centre (home of the Ottawa Senators) for an all-day sponsor commitment and then fly back to Toronto.

Monday - this morning, be right back at Leafs TV for their practice television show at the MasterCard Centre preparing for the Leafs next home game on Tuesday night vs St Louis









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Another young lady that I work for is Caitlin Cahow, who is retired as a hockey player and is a 3rd year law student at Boston College.  In CC's case, her life changed dramatically on December 21, 2013 after being vetted for probably her life changing moment that will have a profound effect on her next 5 - 10 years.  On this date, the White House named her as a member of the Presidential Delegation to the Winter Olympic Games.

Since then, her trip to the Olympics and after Sochi, CC has been inundated with media requests on top of her full class load, speaking engagements and as a member of the CWHL Board of Directors her capacity to juggle has been one to behold.

In her case, this past week included:

  • A trip to Washington DC for a speech at the Human Rights Campaign
  • Lunch at the White House and a possible new role in the future (I don't know what it is so please do not ask me and don't ask her either please)
  • Her full class load to study for
  • A speaking engagement at the NCAA Frozen Four at Quinnipiac College and a round trip drive from Boston to Hartford the same night
  • A CWHL policy matter (she had to deal with as the only US board of director member) that affected one of my clients and much drama between the Boston member club and the League
  • A drive from Boston to Toronto / Markham for the CWHL Championship Game
  • And now back to reality with her full class load in Boston as well as another speaking engagement this week

 

Both ladies are driven to succeed just as they were on the ice for Hockey Canada and USA Hockey and their is no doubt in my mind that both of them will be the next generation of leaders that hold a high place in both nations over the next 2 decades.  I can only hope that people listen to them, they have great ideas and outside of sports they were both are a product of a great piece of legislation in the United States called Title IX that I can honestly say has had a tremendous effect on North American society.  Via Title IX, many female athletes have been given the opportunity to play collegiate sports, earn a college degree and pick up skills via competition that has translated off the field of play and into the board rooms.  

 

The drive and passion that both Tessa and Caitlin have may have been fostered in their collegiate experiences at The Ohio State University and Harvard University respectively, but I can tell you this their not weary, their just getting started. 

 

 

 

American Thanksgiving from an athlete's perspective

Thanksgiving is truly a North American holiday.  In Canada it is celebrated in October, while in the United States it is the last Thursday in November.

For athletes that are from the US, Thanksgiving is a holiday that one rarely gets to celebrate with at home because if your a winter sport athlete most likely your World Cup season has begun.  If your a summer sport athlete their is a chance that you have a meet outside of the US, but you do have a greater likelihood that you might be at home.

With that being said your national team is in a sense your family and any American traditions are somewhat spent with the men and women that are in the same shoes as yours.  Far from home, but you have a job to do.

This Thanksgiving weekend in Calgary, AB, the US Bobsled and Skeleton team took part in the first of 8 World Cup events.  At the same time, other US teams that are competing domestically and on the road include US Ski Team (Alpine), US Speedskating and US Biathlon.

In day 1 of the the FIBT World Cup Women's Skeleton and Men's 2-man bobsled competed.  In what could have been a banner day for the US, Noelle Pikus-Pace and Steven Holcomb / Steven Langton all picked up victories.  

An hour after Noelle's win, she was disqualified because of a rules violation challenged by the team that finished 2nd.  I cannot tell you what or how this rule violation affected the race because it was deemed that though she did everything correct on the course and her sled that was legal just a few days ago now, was now illegal for having tape on the handle.  Her win became a DQ which instead of earning her 225 points, now became a zero.  Why this matters is after the 8 World Cup events are over, whomever earns the most points has the position to go first at the Olympics when ice conditions are considered to be optimal.  You have to somehow put this behind you because you have a job to do next week in Park City, the week after that in Lake Placid, off for the holidays and then go to Europe on December 27, 2013.

On the flip side, Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton raced in the 4th generation, new 2-man BMW bobsled in their first official competition.  Holcomb and Langton did some amazing things in the sled, they not only won the races, they also broke the track record twice in two heats that had stood since 2005.  Now while Holcomb has piloted 5 consecutive 2-man victories in North America doing so in different technology is very impressive.

At the end of the day, missing a treasured holiday by 99.9% of Americans is another day at the office, 69 days from the start of the Winter Olympic games in Sochi.  These athletes will do whatever it takes to not only want to make an Olympic team, but to try and win an Olympic medal.  They would rather celebrate Thanksgiving in March then worry about a great turkey dinner today.

To those on their journey to try and become a member of any Olympic team, I thank you for all that you do to represent your country and wish you best of luck in achieving your ultimate goal.