2010 Olympian - Canada
@TessaB25 / STATUS: Canadian Women's Hockey League - Toronto Furies
OLYMPIC CHAMPION. WORLD CHAMPION. COLLEGE GRADUATE.
At the age of 4, Tessa began to skate in her backyard in a rink built by her father Doug. After learning to skate, it was at her babysitter’s house after pre-school that she picked up the game of hockey. At first, daddy’s little girl was not allowed to play but after cajoling from her neighbors who gave her equipment to play did her father relent on allowing her to play.
Like many girls in Canada at the time, there were no dedicated girls hockey teams and Tessa played right along with the boys until she was in Pee Wee. It was at that point that her dad who is a full time scout in the Ontario Hockey League helped turn his daughter’s Sudbury summer time soccer team into the area’s first all girls ice hockey team in 1998. Ladies ice hockey really burst on to the scene this year with the addition of it to the Olympic Ice Hockey program for the first time in Nagano.
Tessa and her teammates played against other boys teams in the region as well as newly formed female youth teams throughout the Eastern part of the country. It was during her junior year of High School that Tessa began to be recruited by NCAA institutions who offer the next level of playing Women’s Ice Hockey in the world. Princeton called, but ultimately after some research and proximity to home Tessa selected The Ohio State University and committed to them for enrollment in 2003-04. This represented a big challenge, since this would be the first time leaving home and to do so in a different country to boot. Her father guided her and let her know that if she did not go, she would have always wondered what the experience would be like versus staying close to home and having a traditional Canadian university education.
It was during this time, that she caught the eye of Hockey Canada and after her first season there she was invited to participate in their Under 22 camp, where she was selected to compete for Canada in some international competition. What Tessa did not realize at the time was that the Canadian National Team coaches were at this same event and that she would soon have an opportunity to tryout for the 2006 Winter Olympic Team. Her dream though to represent Canada did not come to pass as she was one of the final cuts by Hockey Canada.
For any player that gets as close to the Olympic dream and get cut before an Olympic Games can be disastrous for the psyche or it can be used as motivation that one can overcome what the challenges are in front of you and conquer them. For Tessa, the answers were clear, I need to go back to Ohio State and everything they don’t think I can do well now, I will get better at and show them in the future that I can be an asset to the team. Over the next two seasons at Ohio State, Tessa improved her game and matured on/off the ice. With a college degree in hand in the Spring of 2008, she would get another chance to make the Olympic dream come true. She was named to the 2009 Canadian National Team where she participated in her second World Championship and was invited to the 2010 Olympic camp. In December 2009, Tessa was named to the Canadian Winter Olympic team roster.
All of the days of hard work that her father had instilled in her from the days in Sudbury making her shoot 100 pucks a day, that was her hockey homework as he would call it in her homemade shooting gallery, has finally paid off. Her perfect Olympic dream came true and she won an Olympic Gold Medal in Vancouver against the United States on February 25, 2010.
“I know that walking into Opening Ceremonies in BC Place was going to be a highlight of the Games, but to capture an Olympic Gold at Canada Hockey Place, was just the ultimate & is my game 7 like the Stanley Cup Finals.”
After the Olympics, new opportunities came calling for her both on and off the ice. Tessa was selected #1 overall in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (Toronto) as well as commercial opportunities with Scotiabank, Nike and McDonald’s Canada.
Another calling came in the form of television opportunities as a contestant on WIPEOUT Canada and CBC’s Battle of the Blades. Skating on BOTB, Tessa teamed up with 2002 Olympic Champion, David Pelletier & they were able to earn $50,000 each for Run for the Cure & Ronald McDonald House Calgary, while winning this competition.
After balancing her hockey commitment with BOTB, Tessa was given the opportunity of a lifetime to become a member of the broadcast team with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment for the Toronto Maple Leafs (LEAFS TV) & Toronto FC [GOLtv Canada] (while MLSE would respect her Hockey Canada commitment to international play & in the CWHL as well) in December of 2011.
Her plan is to try and help defend Canada's 3 straight Olympic Gold Medals at Sochi 2014. In the future, getting her Masters degree in Speech Pathology may be in the cards as well. In August of 2013, she moved to Calgary to centralize with the National Team program where Hockey Canada will be based at that time, she will leave the broadcast world with the 2014 Olympic Team as her ultimate goal. The Olympic team will be announced in December of 2013.
Tessa's dream for Sochi ended as Hockey Canada released her from the squad along with 3 other players in Mid-November of 2013. Tessa's final tournament with Hockey Canada saw her play in over 100 Games in a Canadian jersey and capturing the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid.
The following was her comments she made on twitter (@tessab25), November 13 about her Sochi dream ending:
Highly doubt I can fit all my thoughts in 140 characters, but here goes nothing! While my journey to Sochi has come to an end, my love for my teammates and the game has not. I owe BIG thanks to my family and friends and all of our fans who have supported and cheered me on throughout my amazing journey as a member of team Canada.
I also wanted thank everyone for the kind messages of support during this tough time in my career. Know that I will never stop promoting our game and will continue to give back to a sport that has given me so much. I have absolutely NO DOUBT our ladies will be successful in Sochi and look forward to cheering them on the whole way. #GoCanadaGo #GiveYourEverything
Tessa leads a busy life balancing her passion for the sport of hockey and her other commitments, but at the same time still has time to give back to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Ronald McDonald House, Right to Play, D.I.F.D. and Think First Canada. She resumed her broadcast career with MLSE's Leafs TV and Toronto FC on Gol TV Canada in January 2014.
Additionally, Tessa has partnerships with Graf Hockey, Panini Trading Cards, Canadian Gypsum Corporation and P&G. In Tessa's relationship with P&G, her mother Debbie, additionally has an endorsement deal as part of the #ThankYouMom program. Tessa and Debbie have both individual and collective responsibilities to the brand. McDonald's renewed their agreement with Tessa and will now stretch until 2016.
In the Spring of 2014, as a member of the Toronto Furies, Tessa played a crucial role and was named to the All-Tournament Team helping Toronto capture their first CWHL league championship, the Clarkson Cup (Women's Hockey equivalent to the Stanley Cup). Toronto was able to beat regular season champion Montreal in the last game of the round robin 2-1 in OT/Shootout and then defeat top seed, the Boston Blades 1-0 in Overtime to capture the crown.
With this victory, Tessa joins the Triple Gold Club which is Olympic Gold, IIHF World Championship Gold and the Clarkson Cup. While the IIHF officially accounts for this on the Men's side with Olympic Gold, IIHF Gold and the Stanley Cup, it has not for Women's hockey at the present time.
On September 17, 2014, Tessa officially retired from international hockey and Hockey Canada. She continued to play in the CWHL for the Toronto Furies for the 2014-15 season and participated in the CWHL All Star Game at the Air Canada Centre in December 2014.
Additionally, she was named as a member of TSN's broadcasting team in 2014 and is an anchor on SPORTSCENTRE and will cover Hockey Canada's TSN broadcasts. (See Broadcasting Page).