A remarkable goaltender who has carved a sterling legacy with the Cornell Big Red, Amanda Mazzotta also knows the thrill of donning the Maple Leaf on her jersey. Having participated with Canada’s Under-18 and Under-22/Development rosters, she is a highly accomplished individual that continues to inspire today.
This season, Mazzotta has been a member of the coaching staff for the Canadian Under-18 women’s team that captured silver at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 Women’s Worlds in Buffalo, New York. Serving as a goaltending consultant, it was an opportunity for Mazzotta to continue to contribute to the Canadian squad.
Back in 2008, when the first IIHF Under-18 Women’s Worlds were contested, Mazzotta was a goaltender for the Canadian contingent. Sharing goaltending duties with Delayne Brian (the winner of the 2014 CWHL Goaltender of the Year Award), that roster would one day represent a who’s who of women’s hockey.
Joining Mazzotta on that 2008 roster were the likes of Tara Watchorn, Lauriane Rougeau, Laura Fortino, Marie-Philip Poulin, Brianne Jenner, Carolyne Prevost, Bailey Bram, Laura McIntosh and Natalie Spooner. Although the squad would finish with a silver medal in a valiant effort, the legacy of such hockey talent will never be disputed.
“Having had the opportunity to play at a U18 world championships and now coach at one has been an incredible experience. I think having the playing experience helped me as a coach; knowing what it feels like to represent your country, the responsibility that comes along with it, and of course the immense feeling of pride definitely affected how I helped the goalies prepare.
Like most female hockey players growing up in Canada, I aspired to wear the maple leaf, and was fortunate enough to get to do that – it never really dawned on me that I would be lucky enough to wear the maple leaf again, this time as a coach. I think knowing what it felt like to pull that Team Canada sweater over my head for the first time at the 2008 World Championships made representing Canada as a coach 6 years later even more meaningful.”
With a remarkable wealth of experience, Mazzotta was an ideal mentor for the goaltenders on the Under-18 team. Providing motivation and encouragement for a new generation of goaltenders, Mazzotta has worked with a remarkable group of athletes this year.
At the 2015 edition of the IIHF Under-18 Women’s Worlds, Mazzotta had the opportunity to work with three goaltenders. Marlene Boissonault earned the start in the gold medal game and made 38 saves in a hard-fought game.
Hailing from Amherst, Nova Scotia, Carly Jackson is a two-sport star, having won a bronze medal at the 2012 Female Under-16 Baseball Nationals. Standing between the pipes for Shaftesbury Academy, Kristen Campbell (also an MFMHL All-Star in 2012-13) was the third goaltender on the squad.
“With the Team Canada goalies, working in a short term competition environment I try to help them be confident in their abilities, and mostly to feel ready and prepared. Short term competition really isn’t the time to make any drastic technical changes, as a coach I believe it’s more so about making the goalie feel ready and helping them deal with potential stressors along the way.”
In addition to serving as a coach at various national goaltending talent and evaluation camps, Mazzotta was also part of the gold-medal winning Team Ontario Red coaching staff (under head coach Bradi Cochrane) at the 2013 Canadian Under-18 Nationals. With Team Ontario Red, she worked with Amelia Boughn and Kassidy Sauve, who currently stars with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
“As for working with young goalies, I like to have them focus on being a strong skater, and working with their athleticism. Goaltending has become very technical, but with the young kids, I believe it’s important to be a good skater (both regular skating and goalie skating) and to emphasize being an athlete (i.e. playing other sports, not focusing too early on hockey).
With the young kids, I think it is important to teach a variety of technique but to focus more on a desire and competitiveness to stop the puck, and the fundamental skating/movement skills – the nitty gritty technical/tactical/strategic skills can be taught later rather than earlier. Personally, I would rather have a young goalie with lots of intensity and athleticism instead of a robotic cookie cutter goalie.”
Possessing a career goals against average of 0.50 with the Canadian Under-18 Program, Mazzotta was part of history once again in 2015. In addition to competing in the inaugural edition of the IIHF Under-18 Worlds, she was part of the first-ever all-female coaching staff for the Under-18 team.
This year, Mazzotta was joined on the coaching staff by a trio of remarkable assistant coaches including Noemie Marin, who also played softball for Canada at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. Other assistant coaches included Jackie Friesen, who starred for the Wisconsin Badgers, and Delaney Collins, who is also a member of the Mercyhurst Lakers coaching staff.
Former Brown Bears (and current Quinnipiac Bobcats assistant coach) player Cassandra Turner proudly assumed the reins as head coach for this historic group. As a side note, she was an assistant coach on last year’s staff, which captured a gold medal.
“I truly enjoyed my experience with our coaching staff. I learned so much from the other four women; they are all incredible coaches with so much to offer, so from a development standpoint for me, this was an invaluable experience.
Aside from that though, being the first all female coaching staff was really fun. We all commented at various times that we felt like we were back in our university locker rooms. You always go into a Hockey Canada event knowing that it’s going to be lots of hard work, but when your coaching staff is as fun and supportive as ours, it always makes the experience that much better. I think we really grew as a group of coaches and had a lot of fun together; it was an amazing experience!”
"All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”