|Program: Team Canada National Women’s U18 Team|
|Ancestry: Thessalon First Nation|
|Jersey Number: 13|
|Date of Birth: 02/21/1998|
|Height: 5' 4''|
|Weight: 137 lbs|
|Home Town: Embrun, ON|
|Handedness: Right Handed|
|Hobbies: mathematics, exercise science, tennis and snowboarding.|
|School: Ecole Secondaire Catholique Embrun|
Tasza Tarnowski is a 17 year old member of the Team Canada National Women’s U18 Team from Embrun, ON. Along with her commitments with Hockey Canada, Tasza is also a key player for the Ottawa Lady Sens Intermediate AA squad, having just been named team captain for the 2015-2016 season. In addition, Tasza is also a member of Team Ontario for the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships and helped guide her team to a silver medal finish in Halifax. Tasza is an honour roll student who enjoys mathematics, exercise science, as well as tennis and snowboarding.
ASWCO: What does your heritage mean to you, and what significance does that have for you as an athlete?
TT: For me, my heritage means a lot to me. My Dad is Polish and I went to Poland a couple of years ago for a family reunion. On my Mom’s side I find it really interesting as well to know that I have Aboriginal ancestry and it makes me feel proud. Getting to go to the NAHC (National Aboriginal Hockey Championships) tournament, and meeting a lot of girls and learning more about the culture was really cool definitely something I want to keep learning. I was really happy being able to go to NAHC and representing First Nations meant a lot.
ASWCO: What does a tournament like NAHC do for your development both on and off the ice?
TT: On ice for sure was actually a really big part of my development. It’s all the best players from each province, it was definitely really good hockey. I found in that tournament I really went back to the basics, just working hard and lots of team play. That’s one thing I really found that everyone clicked so well. You really remember you’re out there to have fun and work hard, and off ice I was new to the team, I know some girls had been there before, but they were all so welcoming, we had so much fun. That was really good clicking off the ice and on, so that was for sure a big part of my development.
ASWCO: Who are the positive role models in your life or people you look up to in sport?
TT: First off my brother. I always did whatever he did so I wouldn’t have started playing if it wasn’t for him. Definitely my parents, they didn’t really play high level hockey or anything. My Mom is a breast cancer survivor and her strength always pushes me. My Dad he plays just for fun, but just the fact they always drive me to practices and sacrifice so much for me to play. One of the biggest ones too is my Grandpa on my Mom’s side. Whenever I see him in the stands I always want to play my hardest, he always gives me great feedback, so I really look up to him.
In terms of athletes, there are so many great female hockey players like Marie-Philip Poulin and Nat Spooner, but there are other athletes that don’t play hockey like Serena Williams. I think she’s amazing, her strength, just to see different athletes to see the work they put in, doesn’t matter what sport it is.
ASWCO: An athlete doesn’t get to the level you’re at without a strong work ethic. Can you talk about the balance between athletic performance and academic performance?
TT: Work ethic for me is the biggest thing. My biggest motto has always been “hard work pays off” so I always pride myself on that. I think being able to balance both is something every athlete has to learn, especially when you go to University because you’re not just an athlete anymore; you’re a student athlete.
I usually set out my week to try stay organized for my training days and my homework, and tests coming up. I think having sports and school to focus on it helps me to stay organized. Both of them together work really well, and always focusing on the next goal, setting short term goals I think that always pushed me to keep working hard day in and day out whether it’s on the ice or off the ice.
ASWCO: What was it like putting that sweater on and looking down and seeing that Hockey Canada logo on the front of your jersey for the first time?
TT: I can’t really explain it. I always see people on TV that cry when they’re happy and I’ve never really understood that or had that. But I was actually crying, it was just like “Oh my God”, cause you know you dream of it and work so hard for it and sacrifice so much, like missing out on social events or hanging out with your friends. All those little things they build up to that and it’s all worth it. No regrets.
ASWCO: How do you intend to continue to be a role model on and off the ice moving forward?
TT: Keep up that motto that hard work pays off. Showing the younger girls and the people around me that it really does pay off. Especially practice and on the ice just trying to be the hardest worker, because it definitely does pay off whether you’re on the ice or of the ice. Also being open, when girls need advice, always being able to pass on my knowledge is a big thing. Also treating people the way you want to be treated, one of the biggest things that I value as well!
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