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Persistence Pays Off for Tara Watchorn as Winter Games Dream Comes True


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Part of a growing legacy of players that have had the honor of competing for Team Canada at the Under-18, Under-22 and National levels, Tara Watchorn is primed for the pinnacle of her career. Having earned a spot on the Canadian Winter Games squad looking for its fourth consecutive gold medal in women’s ice hockey at the Games, Watchorn is proud to be part of the blueline corps. 

Known affectionately as Watchy, she will have some familiar faces manning the blueline with her. Having played the last season with the Calgary Inferno of the CWHL, she is joined on the Canadian team by Inferno teammates Jocelyne Larocque and Meaghan Mikkelson. Like Watchorn, Larocque is also a rookie at Winter Games competition. The chance to share in such a unique moment in their careers should only strengthen the bonds of friendship. 

With an older brother that also played the sport, Watchorn’s interest in the sport was fuelled by the heroic performance of the Canadian contingent which captured gold at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games. Twelve years later, the native of Newcastle, Ontario shall be competing on the world’s biggest stage, following in the footsteps of her heroes.

During this remarkable journey, Watchorn has assembled a remarkable career built on the values of dedication, hard work and perseverance. Her career at the NCAA level with the Boston University Terriers is testament to those values. 

What was once an underdog program was suddenly transformed into a national powerhouse. Joining the Terriers in 2008, one of the biggest goals in her career came during the 2010 Hockey East postseason. Scoring the game-winning tally in overtime, the program captured its first-ever Hockey East conference title. 

The following year, she would contribute to a Terriers program that qualified for the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four championship game. Despite the loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in the final, the game would feature many players competing at Sochi. 

BU featured the likes of Watchorn, Marie-Philip Poulin, Catherine Ward and Jenn Wakefield. As a side note, Jenelle Kohanchuk, who was invited to Hockey Canada’s Centralization Camp was also part of the roster. Wisconsin’s roster consisted of 2014 Team USA members such as Meghan Duggan, Brianna Decker and Hilary Knight. Goaltender Alex Rigsby would compete with Team USA at the 2013 IIHF Worlds while Carolyne Prevost attended Team Canada’s Winter Training Camp in 2013. 

Her tremendous performances with the Terriers program would lead to an opportunity to compete with Canada at the 2011 IIHF Women’s World Championships in Switzerland. After competing with Canada’s entry at the inaugural 2008 IIHF Under-18 Women’s Worlds, the return to IIHF play was long overdue. 

Sadly, Watchorn’s tenure with the Canadian contingent in 2011 ended in the same way as it did at the 2008 U18 Worlds, a sullen shade of silver. Both losses would come against the rival United States. While Watchorn would earn her first gold medal with the national team at the 2013 Four Nations Cup, the win came against Finland. 

Heading into Sochi, nothing would be sweeter than golden redemption for Watchorn. In some ways, it would mirror Canada’s run towards gold at Salt Lake 2002. Heading into the event as an underdog to the US, playing on their home ice, the opportunity to grab the gold was an against all odds scenario. 

Fast forward 12 years later and the intensity is just as high. As Canada lost the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds to the US, nothing can be taken for granted at Sochi. Motivation is high and the opportunity to bring back gold is fuelled by an insatiable desire. For Watchorn, it may lead to inspiring the next generation of players. 

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