By Emilie Medland-Marchen, June 7 2016 —
Former Dinos goaltender Amanda Tapp continues to make waves in hockey — but these days, it’s from behind the bench.
Since graduating in a stacked Dinos women’s hockey class in 2014, Tapp has joined Hockey Canada as a goaltending coach. In her Dinos career, Tapp was an undeniable talent, leading the team to their first ever gold medal at the 2012 CIS Championship alongside some of the top names in the business, including Hayley Wickenheiser, Iya Gavrilova and Elana Lovell. That year, Tapp was named a CIS Championships Tournament MVP. She would go on to play for the Dinos one more season, maintaining a .902 save percentage.
From June 2–5, Tapp was featured as one of 12 coaches at Hockey Canada’s annual goaltending camp at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary. Although her days playing hockey professionally are behind her, she brings the same passion, drive and spirit as a coach.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to play at a high level, and with a lot of great players along the way,” Tapp said. “It was a natural progression to step into coaching once I was done school.”
The netminders selected to attend the camp are among the top 20 in the country. The stakes are high for these athletes, and the expectations of the coaches who train them are even higher.
“We’re fortunate to be working with some of the top goaltenders in Canada,” Tapp said. “As a coach, that really pushes us as well. [With] goaltenders at all levels, we really look for strong skating abilities, effort — they have to work hard. And good habits every day, they have to be a professional every day. It doesn’t matter how old they are, those are all things that are in their control, and what they can do to be a better goalie.”
Tapp is joined by another member of the Dinos family, Brad Kirkwood. The goaltending coach of the current Dinos women’s hockey team mentored Tapp in her final years on the team and was a factor in helping her make the transition to coaching.
“I expect when I am working with [the Dinos] or the Canadian goaltenders that they display professional habits and put in the work both on and off the ice to become the best they can be,” Kirkwood said.
One of the top prospects at this year’s camp is Emerance Maschmeyer, a 21-year-old goalie from Bruderheim, Alberta. Maschmeyer spent the last few years in net for the Harvard Crimson, but also played for Team Canada for the first time in 2014 at the 4 Nations Cup. She worked closely with Kirkwood at last weekend’s camp.
“[Maschmeyer’s] presence at camp has been great,” Kirkwood said. “She displays a maturity — both on and off the ice — beyond her years.”
Coaches like Tapp and Kirkwood have Maschmeyer under watch for future World Cups, and possibly the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games. Camps like these help determine the makeup of the Olympic team over the next two years in preparation for Korea.
“It’s tough for us as coaches, because we want to be able to help each and every one of them grow and reach their dreams,” Tapp said. “Unfortunately there’s only a couple spots. But at the same time, I think we can have a positive impact on everyone that gets the chance to put that jersey on. It’s a truly special experience.”
International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame inductee Danielle Goyette is the head coach of the current Dinos women’s hockey team. Her presence alongside veterans like Tapp highlights the growing strength of elite coaches in Canada. And players like Maschmeyer excelling on the international stage show that the future is bright for women’s hockey in Alberta.
“Hockey Alberta has worked very hard to build a strong coach mentoring program,” Tapp said. “They understand where our players need to go to, and they really do care about the athletes — not just as hockey players, but as people.”