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   Volume 81 - Issue 36   email:   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
"As we grow and develop, we realize where our true passions lie."
- Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed  


Coleman native Tara Hammer was recently named the University of Calgary Dinos Women’s Hockey team’s newest assistant coach, making her the first woman to hold the position in Dinos history.
“I feel very fortunate to be a full-time assistant coach,” Hammer said in an interview with the Pass Herald.
Hammer joins former national team players Danielle Goyette and Kelly Bechard as part of the team’s coaching staff.
“Joining the Dinos coaching staff is a great opportunity, and I am excited to learn from Danielle and Kelly, who are both former National team players and Olympic athletes,” she said.
“Both Danielle and Kelly have so much playing and coaching experience to draw from, and I feel lucky to be able to work with them both, as they have taken the women’s hockey program at the university to new levels.”
Hammer, 32, grew up in Coleman and began playing hockey with Crowsnest Pass Minor Hockey at the age of five, and continued to play locally until she reached the age of 16.
“I grew up playing road hockey with my friends, so naturally I wanted to play when we were old enough,” she said, adding that her father also influenced her decision to play the game, as he used to play hockey as well.
Following graduation from high school, Hammer played three seasons at Mount Royal College, transferring to the University of Calgary in 2003.
During her single season with the Dinos, Hammer landed 14 goals and 21 points in 20 games, securing her the second highest standing on the team and eighth place in the league scoring race.
Hammer completed her Bachelor of Kinesiology degree in 2006, followed by a Bachelor of Education (Master of Teaching) degree in 2008, after which point she spent three years as a substitute teacher with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE), while also working as a coach and administrator for several women’s hockey organizations.
She went on to play five seasons in the Western Women’s Hockey League (WWHL) with the Strathmore Rockies and Edmonton Chimos.
During her time with the Rockies, Hammer played against Goyette and Bechard as well as other elite female hockey players.
Two years ago, Hammer decided to pursue coaching after retiring from competitive hockey, and began coaching in the elite female stream in Calgary, where she coached Bantam AAA.

Last season, she served as assistant coach for the Midget AAA Flyers, and is also involved on an ongoing basis with the Hockey Alberta U16 program.
During her time with the CBE, Hammer also worked as a hockey instructor.
“I teach physical education, so a natural progression was to coach,” she said. “Hockey is not a school sport, yet the sport which I am most passionate about.”
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Kimberley Massey photo
Coleman native Tara Hammer joined the University of Calgary Dinos Women’s Hockey coaching staff last month, making her the first female assistant coach in Dinos history.
She said being a substitute teacher allowed her the flexibility to coach and instruct at the same time, and that when she was offered a full-time coaching position, she couldn’t pass it up.
She noted that coaching is very different from playing the game, and is a lot more work than playing.
“There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes,” said Hammer. “At least when you’re playing, you are not aware of how much effort you are putting in.”
She said it was also an adjustment to view the game from a new perspective.
“My competitive nature still exists, however, you have to learn to direct your energy in new ways,” she said.
“Coaching is every bit as rewarding as playing, if not more so, and I really enjoy the process of coaching, getting to know the players, and feeling like you are part of their success.”
Hammer said there is the potential that she could be with the Dinos long-term, but she is going to take things season by season.
“Eventually, I would like to be coaching as a head coach at the university level, and plan to do my Master’s degree in coaching in the next five years,” she said.
Hammer’s position was made possible through funding from the Jane Snyder Program of Excellence, a $500,000 donation to the U of C women’s hockey program.
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