It’s written on the T-shirts they wear while warming up off the ice, and it has motivated them all week on the ice at the 2013 National Women’s Under-18 Championship.
Team Atlantic pride, passion and trust – otherwise referred to as TAPP&T – is the motto for the squad made up of 20 players from four different provinces.
The catchy phrase represents “the key features of a quality team,” according to Team Atlantic head coach Zach Ball.
Prior to this year’s National Women’s Under-18 Championship, these female players, who come from all corners of Atlantic Canada, didn’t have much of a chance to practise and prepare together. The female game is growing on the east coast, but many still have to play with boys’ teams in order to compete at a high level and improve their skill level.
So assembling a team to represent Atlantic Canada at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship not only requires the players to be talented on the ice, but also requires them to come together as a team quickly, and work together to bond off the ice before the tournament.
“It’s all about communication,” Ball said. “All you can do is hope for success.”
The players echo the sentiments of their coach. The uncertainty of teaming up with sometimes unfamiliar teammates is a challenge in itself, and that’s in addition to the pressure of representing their provinces at a national tournament.
“Not knowing each girl’s position, or how she plays the game can create a challenge,” forward Brette Pettet of Kentville, N.S., said after Team Atlantic edged British Columbia 4-3 on the final day of preliminary action. “But we’ve come together as a cohesive team.”
The dressing room is where bonding occurs for many teams. Players are able share in each other’s successes and shortcomings, and create a unity that carries on to the ice. Creating this is crucial to a team’s success and that what these girls are here to achieve at this national championship.
“You are alone in the change rooms when you play with boys,” defenceman Julia Theriault of Campbellton, N.B., said. “You lack the bonding that occurs in the change room.”
The ability to easily connect with teammates in the change room has had a positive impact on the dynamic Team Atlantic, from the dressing room to the bench and beyond.
“We have all become friends,” Theriault said. “It’s like we’ve been playing together for 10 years.”
The TAPP&T motto is about bringing everyone together. It has carried through everything Team Atlantic has done this week in Calgary, and will stay with them after they return to their various homes in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
It reminds the girls of qualities they should be thinking about when representing themselves and their team. Although sometimes dubbed the underdogs, Team Atlantic came out fighting with serious bight this week.
The belief in the TAPP&T motto has clearly brought these girls together as a strong, determined team.