Tamber Tisdale first came to national prominence when she played with the Notre Dame Hounds at the 2010 Esso Cup. “That was probably the biggest hockey event I have ever been to. It was very cool being on TSN [The Sports Network], and we made it to the final.” Tisdale played valiantly in the Esso Cup, as she appeared in seven contests, winning five of them, and posting a shutout to complement her 2.68 Goals Against Average.
She grew up in the hockey hotbed of Red Deer, Alberta. “It is a pretty big hockey community. All my friends played. I knew I would go farther [in hockey] when I went to Notre Dame.” The Notre Dame Hounds boast superlative hockey alumni including Olivia Howe, Brienna Gillanders, Taylor Woods and the late Mandi Schwartz.
Her sparkling career with the Carleton Ravens almost never happened. “I had to decide between the University of Toronto and Carleton [in Ottawa]. In January of my senior year in high school, I decided that I wanted to come to Ottawa. I really liked the program and I talked to Shelley [Coolidge]. Both of their goalies were graduating.”
The highlight of her career occurred on January 22, 2012 when the Ravens beat the nationally ranked (and eventual division champion) McGill Martlets. Tisdale blocked 32 of 35 Martlets shots in the first three periods. After overtime failed to produce a winner, Tisdale gave the performance of her career, stopping five of six Martlets in the shootout as part of a 4-3 victory. The goaltender for the Martlets was 2010 Winter Games gold medalist and multiple CIS record holder, Charline Labonte. “It showed that if we work hard as a team, we can accomplish something we thought we could not have. It was an amazing thing.”
Another accomplishment that is a great source of pride for Tisdale is being named to the QSSF Second All-Star Team in 2012. “I thought I had a really good season and I thought I deserved it. It makes me realize that I can be the best goaltender in the league.” Her .917 save percentage ranked second in the league to Labonte.
During the Ontario University Association’s exhibition series (in September 2012) against QSSF programs, Tisdale stood between the popes in an emotional game against the York Lions. In making 23 of 24 saves versus the Lions, Tisdale was a key factor in the Ravens 4-1 win. Tisdale had a shutout through the first two periods, but allowed a power play goal at the 1:15 mark of the final stanza.
Ravens head coach Shelley Coolidge offered her thoughts on the contest. “It is easy to raise your compete level against former teammates. One of York’s players [Lindsay Brooke] played at Notre Dame and is best friends with Tamber. With the two of them, one is thinking ‘You will not score on me,’ while the other is looking for mesh.”
As the next Winter Universiade shall be contested in Italy in December 2013, the Canadian women’s hockey contingent will be composed exclusively of athletes competing in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport. As the Canadians claimed the gold medal in 2009 and 2011, Tisdale would be honored to don the Maple Leaf. “It would mean everything to me. It is my number one goal this year. I have been working towards it all summer, and will do so all season.”
The confidence and determination that emanates from Tisdale’s spirit for the game will be a key component for any success the Ravens hope to accomplish this season. “I do see myself as a leader. I am passionate about hockey. I lead by example and being a goalie is important to me.”
With the graduation of Labonte from McGill, Tisdale is poised for a breakout season.“When it comes to defense, I have to practice like I play. I always have to battle. I think about my goals, how to reach my goals and work through it. Besides making the National Team [for the Winter Universiade], another goal is to be named to the First All-Star team this year, while my team goal is to make it to the CIS Nationals.”
All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated.