If being an active participant in the World of Girl’s/Women’s hockey has taught me anything, it is that I need to unlearn everything I have come to expect or any preconceived notions of how hockey operations ‘should’ be run. Women’s Hockey all over the world is dictating the pace and rules of how it will be governed, and which direction its development will go.
When the news broke (mostly on social media) that Tessa Bonhomme had been released from Hockey Canada’s Centralization Camp, words cannot properly describe the shock and horror that spread throughout my family, the disappointment in the questioning from my own ten year old daughter was heartbreaking.
Although neither myself nor my daughter have yet had the pleasure of meeting Tessa it does not diminish the impact she continues to have on inspiring not only the young girls who are picking up sticks and donning helmets for the first time, she has been instrumental in changing the global perception of the girls and women who actively participate in the sport, and pushing those like myself to dedicate their time in helping to ensure its continued growth and success.
Miss Bonhomme has been such a large piece of the Women’s Game exposure, her visibility off the ice (and just as much on it) is a key component to its growth, and yet here we sit trying to figure out what will happen next and wondering what on earth the Hockey Canada Staff were thinking making this move. But reluctantly and in spite of how my heart feels this decision however difficult, was a result of the inspiration that Women including Tessa have given to the game, and the true depth of the ever evolving Female talent this country has to offer.
No matter how the decision has affected us, we must admire the fact that it did indeed require thought before action. This speaks volumes to the state of our girl’s development country wide and the sheer number of young ones taking up the sport that Tessa herself has endlessly and graciously devoted her life to. Thinking logically, I am encouraged by the fact that all roster spots are being competed for at extremely high levels, and that more and more discussion and debate has started seeping into Women’s Hockey. Any publicity is at the very least, exposure.
With the name recognition and sponsorship revenue she (Tessa) has brought to the game, this decision in the hockey world is mind boggling and would under no circumstances would happen in the men’s game, but that is an entirely separate debate. Therefor making a move like this, for me, solidifies Hockey Canada’s commitment (on the Women’s side) to excellence and more importantly growth in the years to come.
Do I agree with this decision, absolutely not, but I respect it and will not speak ill of it regardless of outcome. As for Tessa Bonhomme her gracious and heart felt response to the release only added to the already seemingly flawless character she continues to display. Her professional, ambitious, and competitive nature will always push her to the very limits of personal success. She is a Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist, an inspiration and at such a young age a Canadian Legend. Tessa has already done more for the Game and her Country then most of us can ever hope to achieve. She has inspired a generation.
The only thing I could ask of her at this point is to please don’t stop. Stay in the game anyway possible; keep pushing yourself and the young girls who continue to look up to you. You are as relevant now as you have always been and one of the best role models our young women could ever ask for. Whether it was winning Gold in Vancouver or on the ice with the Toronto Furies, you have created moments between my daughter and I that can never be recreated and you have inspired her to push further on and off the ice in everything she does. I owe you a debt of gratitude and my promise to continue to do what I can to ‘Grow the Game’.
Regardless of all things to come, my Canada will always include Tessa Bonhomme.