On the frozen perimeters of hockey rinks throughout North America, Amber Bowman is a skilled competitor that provides her club, the Toronto Furies, with the opportunity to win.
When not competing on the ice, Bowman is in an even more thrilling line of work.
As one of the first four women ever hired by Central York Fire Services (located north of Toronto), Bowman became a pioneer in her community. Along with Anne Dinsmore, Melanie Linn and Kristy Patterson, they were among twenty new recruits (the rest were male) that emerged from a field of 1500 applicants.
Having served on the fire brigade since 2011, Bowman risks her own safety on a regular basis to provide comfort to others. Such bravery is an admirable quality, and it is one that makes Bowman a hero both on and off the ice.
She was interviewed by LeafsTV correspondent (and Furies teammate) Tessa Bonhomme about life as a firefighter. Of note, the two were also teammates at Ohio State University. To those that know Bowman, it would come as no surprise that she was also a team captain in boys’ lacrosse during her teens.
Another aspect of Bowman’s career as a firefighter is the niche she has carved as a world champion in the World Firefighting Combat Challenge. While the character and perseverance that she displayed at the competitions transformed her into a champion, the barriers she has shattered in the community make her a champion in life.
Having established herself as a rare and unique two-sport athlete, Bowman’s nascent career at the FireFit Championships is nothing short of legendary. As a rookie competitor in 2011, she claimed world championships in the female individual and female tandem combat challenges. It would mark the first time that a female rookie would grab a world title.
In 2012, she would outdo herself and claim four world titles (representing every category) at the Combat Fire Challenge World Championships, making her the first ever to accomplish the feat. Beside the individual and tandem combat challenges, the other disciplines included co-ed tandem and female relay. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that she competed in 11 races in merely six days.
Nationally, Bowman would also leave her mark at the 2012 Scott FireFit National Canadian Championships. Competing in the Obstacle Course, she broke a 10-year-old Canadian record by seven seconds (she finished with a time of 2:01.54). The competition is physically demanding, as it involves a 50-pound hose, over 100 pounds of equipment and the ability to carry a life-size doll up flights of stairs.
Equally impressive is her distinguished hockey career. From winning an International Silver Stick competition in 2001, accumulating over 100 career points with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Graduating to a fruitful career in the CWHL, Bowman is one of the most underrated competitors in women’s hockey.
Majoring in exercise science at Ohio State, the two-time captain not only ended her career as the all-time leading scorer among defenders, but was a multiple Big Ten All-Academic team and OSU Scholar Athlete, respectively. The 100th point of her Buckeyes career may have been the greatest.
Facing a 3-0 deficit against the MSU Mankato Mavericks, an assist made the score 3-2. With the momentum, Bowman would log another assist in overtime as Hayley Klassen logged the game winning tally to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the 2007 WCHA postseason.
Of note, her CWHL career included stops with franchises such as the Brampton Thunder, the now-defunct Burlington Barracudas (she played in their final season) and the Toronto Furies, respectively.
During the 2013 Clarkson Cup postseason, she manned the Toronto Furies blue line with Martine Garland and displayed the same ruggedness that makes her a valued member of any team’s roster. Competing against the eventual Cup champion Boston Blades, Bowman stopped a shot with her hand during a penalty kill. She would have to leave the game, but her stoicism was not lost on her teammates.
Persevering on and off the ice in traditionally male dominated fields, Bowman is a role model to a young generation of girls. While her career would be defined by the maxim of taking the impossible and making it possible, there is no question that her assiduousness and maturity make her an integral component.
Whether it be shaping a positive culture in the locker room or providing safety and comfort during an emergency, Bowman is an individual that anyone would gladly want on their team.