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Big Balls and Sweeper Arms Put Bonhomme to Test on "Wipeout Canada"
November 12, 2010

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Tessa Bonhomme can't reveal if she won the athletes' competition on "Wipeout Canada," but will confirm she was exhausted and covered in mud by the end of it.

The defenceman on Canada's National Women's Team was one of several athletes selected to participate in an all-athletes episode of "Wipeout Canada," which was taped in October in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Those familiar with the American version of the game show know the format is contestants racing across giant obstacle courses. They're punched into a mud pit, sprayed with foam and suffer spectacular pratfalls into water in pursuit of $50,000 in prize money.

Bonhomme, former NHL player Cam Connor, skeleton racer Michelle Kelly, national luge team member Ian Cockerline, cross-country skier Ian Babikov and biathlete Robin Clegg were among the athletes chosen for the show.

The athletes had to show off the colourful, quirky side of their personalities when they auditioned in order to be selected.

Bonhomme, a 25-year-old from Sudbury, Ont., had vowed to conquer the big red bouncy balls which contestants hop across. She's under contract to keep quiet on the results of the show until it airs sometime next April.

"It was way harder than I expected, but a lot of fun," Bonhomme said Thursday in St. John's, where the National Women's Team is participating in the 2010 4 Nations Cup. "There definitely was mud and people got muddy."

Canada concludes the preliminary round of the 4 Nations against Finland in a battle of the 1-1 teams Friday (TSN, 6 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. NT).

The winner meets the U.S. (2-0) in Saturday's final (TSN2, 6 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. NT). The Americans face Sweden (0-2) on Friday. Canadian head coach Ryan Walter confirmed Thursday that goaltender Shannon Szabados will start in net versus the Finns.

A total of 260 Canadians were chosen for the first season of "Wipeout Canada." Thirteen episodes were taped and will air on TVTropolis in the spring.

Bonhomme is accustomed to intense physical exercise over a short duration as a hockey player. She plays full out for 40 to 60 seconds per shift and then returns to the bench to catch her breath. But the five-foot-seven, 140-pound defender found the rigours of "Wipeout" pushed her to her limits.

"When I was done running the first one you go through, I was so out of breath, I thought ‘Am I out of shape? Should I be feeling like this?'" she recalled. "I was bent over, huffing and puffing."

Babikov said in a recent interview, "I expected we'd be a little bit better than normal people, but it's nothing you can train for. I thought I was prepared, but I wasn't at all."

Bonhomme feels her hockey teammates could benefit from running those obstacle courses.

"It actually crossed my mind at one point when I was there, ‘We should come here for boot camp,'" she said. "We do so many wild things like kickboxing and stuff like that."

Bonhomme is a skilled, speedy defender who helped the Canadian women win Olympic gold in February. "Wipeout Canada" prepared her to draw on her physical reserves at the 4 Nations.

She and Meaghan Mikkelson are the only veteran defencemen on Canada's blue-line in this tournament and both played a lot of minutes in the tournament opener against the U.S., which Canada lost 3-2 in a shootout.

"I don't ever expect ice time. I expect to work for it," she said. "I think our younger players have definitely proven themselves and we've been nothing but impressed. Whether it's me out there or them getting the job done, I don't care as long as we get a win at the end of the day."

The 2011 IIHF World Women's Hockey Championship is April 16-26 in Zurich and Winterthur, Switzerland. Bonhomme is worried her episode will air while she's out of the country.

"I'm hoping and praying it is not during the world championships, so hopefully we can see it," she said.

For more information:

André Brin
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada

Francis Dupont
Manager, Media Relations/Communications
Hockey Canada

Jason LaRose
Manager, Content Services
Hockey Canada

Kristen Lipscombe
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada

Keegan Goodrich
Coordinator, Media
Hockey Canada

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