2020 tcaa jen botterill feature

Where Are They Now? Jennifer Botterill

After setting high standards for herself as a player and retiring a three-time Olympic gold medallist, Jennifer Botterill is expecting that same excellence as a broadcaster

Wendy Graves
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February 25, 2020
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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 2010.

“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 home.”

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.”

For more information:

Dominick Saillant
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
514-895-9706
dsaillant@hockeycanada.ca

 

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
emadziya@hockeycanada.ca

 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
ssharkey@hockeycanada.ca

 

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