From Hero to Mentor: Tara Watchorn’s Journey Back to Boston University
From Hero to Mentor: Tara Watchorn’s Journey Back to Boston University

From Hero to Mentor: Tara Watchorn’s Journey Back to Boston University

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Tara Watchorn, a proud Boston University Terriers alumna, is back at her alma mater as the second Head Coach of the Boston University Women’s Ice Hockey program.

Before taking over behind the bench, the product of Newcastle, Ontario, enjoyed an illustrious playing career. The defenceman attended Boston University where she racked up 84 points while patrolling the Terriers’ blueline. During her collegiate career, Watchorn was a two-time Hockey East and New England All-Star. Watchorn was a vital piece of the defense core that helped the Terriers capture the program’s first Hockey East Title in 2010.

Tara Watchorn - 2024 TCS Live Presenter - Boston University
Watchorn scoring the OT game winner against the UConn Huskies to win the 2012 Hockey East Championship.

The championship game saw the sophomore defenceman wind up a slot shot straight away from the blue line into the top left corner of the net, scoring the game-winning overtime goal to defeat the UConn Huskies 2-1. Watchorn helped bring home BU’s second Hockey East Championship in 2012.

After her collegiate career, Watchorn went on to play 11 seasons with Team Canada where she contributed to bringing home three silver medals at the World Championships. Her high-water mark came in 2014 when she played a role in delivering Canada a gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. In addition to playing on Team Canada’s blueline, Watchorn played for the Boston Blades of the CWHL, where she was a two-time All-Star. Watchorn was honoured as the 2015 CWHL Defenseman of the Year, the same year the Blades captured the Clarkson Cup Championship.

In 2017, Watchorn decided to hang up her skates and transition into a coaching role. She went back to the place she knew best, Boston University, where she served as an Assistant Coach for four seasons. During this time, Watchorn specialized in player skill development and team defense. With Watchorn’s detailed focus on the defensive side of the game, BU twice ranked top five in the nation in goals against average. Watchorn also ran the Terriers penalty kill which ranked fourth best in the 2020-2021 season. Watchorn assisted in leading BU to a Beanpot Championship in 2019.

After spending four years back at Boston University, Watchorn sought a new opportunity to start the Women’s hockey program at Stonehill College. Building the program from scratch, Watchorn took a detailed approach to building an entirely new team. Watchorn effectively built a sustainable culture and vision by enforcing a short-term competitive mindset within her players. This allowed Watchorn to get comfortable with her coaching style in building a foundation of habits and key concepts in all areas of the ice while continuing to develop her players throughout the year.

Tara Watchorn - 2024 TCS Live - Presenter
Tara Watchorn played an integral role in the building of Stonehill College women’s hockey program.

Watchorn’s extraordinary ability to connect with her players gained recognition and she was selected as an assistant coach for Canada’s WJC-18 Women’s team for the 2022 and 2023 tournaments. Watchorn played a critical role in guiding the Canadians to back-to-back gold medals at the tournaments. In 2024, she was promoted to head coach of Team Canada’s WJC-18 Women’s roster where she helped capture the nation’s second bronze medal at the tournament.

After spending two years spearheading Stonehill College’s Women’s hockey program, Watchorn was offered an opportunity she couldn’t pass up, returning to Boston University yet again, but this time as the Head Coach of the Women’s Ice Hockey program. In Watchorn’s first year, she has focused on creating a culture where her players feel comfortable being themselves in conjunction with supporting their teammates.

Tara Watchorn - 2024 TCS Live - Presenter
Tara rejoined the Boston Universities women’s hockey program for the 2023/24 season as Head Coach.

What makes Watchorn successful is her understanding that no one algorithm will work for coaching every player and team. Watchorn’s ability to adapt and work closely with her players to generate team buy-in is what has set her apart from her competitors. Having a coaching philosophy in which it is Watchorn’s responsibility to not coach at her players but with her players has helped her teams redefine successes and achieve greater feats in their respective seasons and playing careers.

We are extremely excited to welcome Tara Watchorn to TCS Live this June where she will present more about her coaching success at the collegiate and international level. 

Get your TCS Live tickets to see Watchorn and the rest of the TCS presenters up close and in person!

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Jack Strassner

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Jack Strassner grew up playing hockey in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Jack is a rising junior majoring in Sport Management, with a concentration in Marketing and Management, along with a minor in Coaching and Leadership, at the University of Michigan.