Stonehill has named Boston University assistant coach Tara Watchorn the first head coach of its women’s hockey program.
The team is set to compete in the New England Women’s Hockey Alliance (NEWHA) starting with the 2022-23 season.
“We are thrilled to welcome Tara to Stonehill as our inaugural head coach,” said Stonehill director of athletics Dean O’Keefe in a statement. “Her energy and passion for the sport of women’s ice hockey is contagious, and her impressive experience coaching and playing at the highest levels will enable her to build a culture of success for our student-athletes both on and off the ice. Tara is one of the bright young coaching stars in the world of women’s ice hockey, and we are excited to have her join the Skyhawk family.”
Watchorn joins Stonehill following four years as an assistant coach under longtime mentor Brian Durocher at her alma mater. She was primarily responsible for working with the Terriers defense and player skill development, which saw a penalty kill during the 2020-21 season finish fourth in the country at 92.1 percent and the unit has ranked inside the top five nationally for goals-against average twice.
“Tara Watchorn is a young and exciting hire for the new Stonehill program,” Durocher said. “She is a confident individual and highly knowledgeable skills coach. Her wide range of playing experience will be an asset in recruiting, teaching and mentoring the talented student-athletes at Stonehill. The Boston University hockey family thanks her and wishes her well as she goes forward in her coaching journey.”
A member of the 2014 Canadian National Team that won the gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, Watchorn remains active with Hockey Canada as assistant coach at the Under-18 level. The team earned a silver medal at the 2019-20 World Championships, where she was responsible for team logistics, penalty kill and defensive zone coverage, mental skills performance and gameday protocol.
Watchorn enjoyed an 11-year playing career for Team Canada as a defenseman in which she appeared in 46 games in international competition as a three-time IIHF Women’s World Championship silver medalist (2011, 2015, 2016), and two-time gold medalist at the 4 Nations Cup (2013, 2014), in addition to her Olympic gold medal.
Watchorn, who is currently working towards her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership at Northeastern, is a 2012 graduate of Boston University. She was a four-year letter-winner for the Terriers, helping lead the team to the first two Hockey East championships in program history in 2010, netting the game-winning goal in overtime, and 2012, reaching the Frozen Four in 2011. She was a two-time Hockey East and New England Division I All-Star as well as a member of the 2008 Hockey East All-Rookie Team.
She also had a professional playing career with the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, appearing in two CWHL All-Star Games and being named the 2015 CWHL Defenseman of the Year – leading the team to the Clarkson Cup the same season.
“It is both an honor and a privilege to have been selected as the first ever women’s ice hockey coach at Stonehill,” said Watchorn. “Thank you to Dean O’Keefe for believing in my vision and entrusting me with building something special within the already amazing community that Stonehill has to offer. I look forward to recruiting top notch young women that will help to create a dynamic and diverse culture that represents Stonehill’s values both on and off the ice.”
Stonehill announced the addition of women’s hockey and NEWHA conference affiliation in December 2019.