Jennifer Botterill grew up with Canada’s National Women’s Team.
She debuted at 18 at the 1997 3 Nations Cup and played 184 games in a Team
Canada jersey before retiring in 2011. She won 17 gold medals during her
14-year career, including five at the IIHF Women’s World Championship,
where she was twice named the most valuable player, and three at the
Olympic Winter Games, capping her career on top of the podium at Vancouver
“I think our whole team went into those Games thinking it would be
something pretty special – an Olympics in Canada,” says Botterill. “But
without a doubt it exceeded our expectations in terms of energy and
excitement and support. Still to this day, if I’m doing a keynote speech or
an event and I show pictures or video from Vancouver, I get chills just
because it was such a contagious environment.”
In a career marked by memorable moments, Botterill puts those Games – as
well as the three world championships she played on home soil (including
one in her hometown of Winnipeg) – at the top. “The best part of playing
for Team Canada,” she says, “was sharing the experience with the fans at
Botterill is now sharing her experiences – and her expertise – in a
different way: as a broadcaster. The transition to the booth (and between
the benches) began shortly after she retired, with coverage for TSN.
“I think I was drawn to the opportunity to stay connected to the sport but
in a different capacity,” she says. “It was a nice way to share my
perspective and offer a bit of an inside look at the game, and hopefully
bring the audience a bit closer to the athletes and the sport from a unique
point of view.”
In addition to TSN, Botterill has also worked as a contributing host and
analyst for CBC and Sportsnet. Last year, she joined MSG Networks as an
analyst for New York Islanders games.
The network approached her in September 2018 about the opening. The
opportunity to be involved in the game at a different level intrigued her.
Botterill does the pre-game, intermission and post-game studio shows, and
in-game segments from between the benches. Last year, thanks to the
Islanders playoff success, she worked close to 40 games. This year, it will
be closer to 30. She shares the role with A.J. Mleczko. The two were
linemates in Botterill’s freshman year (Mleczko’s senior year) at Harvard
University and won a national championship together.
The 40-year-old lives in Toronto and commutes to New York for the job.
Sometimes that means flying in the night before, attending the pre-game
skate in the morning, covering the game in the evening, then flying home
first thing the next morning. Other times, the team’s home schedule allows
her a couple of days in New York to at least unpack.
“I’ve always taken pride in a high standard of excellence for everything
that I do,” says Botterill. “I can draw on the lessons learned from being a
high-performance athlete and apply that to bring the same level of
intensity and preparation to my broadcasting work and hopefully put
together a great performance.”
In addition to her analyst job, she gives keynote speeches at corporate,
community and charity events; manages Journey to Excel, a high-performance
training centre she opened nearly seven years ago with her husband, Adrian
Lomonaco; volunteers her time to Hockey Canada in support of the grassroots
game; and assists at International Olympic Committee and International Ice
Hockey Federation events.
“I look back at the girls I first started playing hockey with in Winnipeg,
and not everyone went on to play university hockey or on the national team,
but the sport itself was a huge platform for a great life,” she says. "I’ve
always felt grateful for my experiences in sport. If there’s ways to give
back that’s something I’m always interested in.”
She’s balancing all this while raising three young daughters: Maya, 4;
Brooklynn, 2; and Wyllow, five months. Her youngest often travels with her
to New York, just as her older two used to join their mom during their
first year. Her unique schedule has been busy but a blessing.
“It allows me to have some flexibility, to have full days and a number of
days in a row with my kids. That has been the biggest joy. It’s a lot of
hard work being a mom,” she says, adding with a laugh, “Did I appreciate my
parents enough when I was young? I hope I did.
“It’s super fulfilling to have these three kids to take care of and who
have brought a lot of energy and joy to our lives.”
Botterill has no intent on slowing down. She looks forward to more
opportunities to share her insights, both as an analyst and as someone
whose journey was shaped by the positive impact of sport.
“I’d love to continue to stay involved covering the game, both on the men’s
side and the women’s side, providing new insight and quality content,” she
says. “And I’d love to continue to be a keynote speaker. I’d love to
continue to grow in all those different capacities.”