My name is Tessa Breaker. I come from the Stoney Nakoda and Siksika Nations. I grew up in Morley, but went to school in Exshaw and am currently in Grade 12 at Canmore Collegiate High School.
I started playing hockey when I was twelve years old. That year I didn’t make the Bantam team. Instead, I was put into Peewee. That whole Peewee year, I trained really hard. My dad helped me train every night. He took me to practice at outdoor rinks and we worked on my skills. We practiced a lot! Some weekends, I would skate for the entire day on the lake by my house in Morley. I would skate for seven or more hours, only stopping to eat. All the hard worked paid off.
The next year, I made the Bantam team in Cochrane! I scored lots of goals and my points average was consistently going up. The next year, I played on teams in Strathmore and Siksika. By my third year, I was dominating, and this year I finished as top scorer on my Siksika team. I also started my Junior debut as an underage Junior player in a March Madness Tournament in Siksika.
This Spring, I was selected to play in the Oskana Cup, a tournament for Indigenous athletes that is hosted in Saskatchewan. It has just recently been opened up to female athletes and on May 3-5th I got to represent Piikani Nation, a Blackfoot Team. Even though our team lost in the semis, it was an awesome experience and great for my development. We had a lot of fun playing together for the first time and went home with a bronze medal.
Hockey has become a big part of my life and has helped me reach my goals by giving me motivation and confidence. When I’m not playing hockey, I volunteer my time to work at the daycare in Morley and to be a mentor and support at Canmore Collegiate for Grade 8 Indigenous students.
I am lucky to have wonderful parents who take me to practices every day, drive me across Alberta and pay for all my hockey fees. Even with that support, transportation to hockey has always been a challenge for me and my family, since I live so far away from all the teams I have played for. Siksika is quite a long drive from Morley (2.5 hours). I am so grateful for the Rocky Mountain Soap bursary - I will be putting it towards covering the cost of transportation to practices and tournaments.
After I graduate from high school, I hope to head to university to pursue biology or education and continue to play hockey wherever I go. I hope that by playing competitive hockey, graduating high school and going on to university that I can be a role model who inspires other young girls in my community to get involved in sport and finish school.
Five years ago these were the words I heard. I was paralyzed from head to toe, placed in a medically induced coma and ventilated. After coming out of ICU for the second time and being weaned off life support I didn’t want to hear this grim statement.
My physiotherapists were as determined as I was, probably more. They worked with me through the painful rehabilitation process. I have so much respect and gratitude for them! I progressed from sitting to standing, and then from the wheelchair to the walker. And finally walking!
After an extensive hospital stay I was ready to be transitioned home. My husband took me to physio, family and friends came for short visits and offered words of encouragement. Even my massage therapist came to help ease my pain and work on my flexibility. She was a God send.
When I could walk independently I moved back to our farm. I could drive now and take myself to physio and doctor appointments. For the next 2 years I worked very hard to recuperate everything I could, challenging myself to relearn to ride a horse again, swim and bike.
Last year my daughter Emily, said “Mom, why don’t we do the Rocky Mountain Soap Race?” I had not relearned to run yet, but responded with “well, why not?!” My trainer had me running and improving my time before I knew it. Emily, Erin, (another daughter) and I entered our first ever Rocky Mountain Soap Race!
What happened to me was devastating, but with the help of family, friends and faith I got through it. I live with residual problems but strive to maintain what I recovered. I will never take a moment of joy for granted or miss an opportunity to achieve something new.
My hope is to encourage you to work hard to conquer your goals-even if they seem too hard! You can do it!
I look forward to this year’s Rocky Mountain Soap Race with yet another daughter, Carla. I am so blessed to get to do this amazing race with all my girls! See you in May!
- Lynn Steeves
My twin sister Sara and I were born in Calgary three months before our due date. At just over one pound each we got off to a bit of a rough start and doctors weren’t sure what the future would hold for us in terms of development, especially physically. Despite always being small for our age, we began to grow up as typical Canmore mountain kids with our parents, Steve and Monika, strapping us to downhill skis at the tender age of two and kindling our love for all sports in the outdoors. We tried just about every activity imaginable, from figure skiing, gymnastics and mountain biking to cross country skiing. Some sports clicked more than others, my lack of flexibility made gymnastics teachers cringe and the only thing that drew my attention seemed to be hanging and climbing on the uneven bars. Gymnastics clearly wasn’t my calling, but thankfully some other activities sparked some interest. Both my sister and I developed a liking for cross-country skiing early on through the Jackrabbits program at the Nordic Centre and ended up competing in the sport at a local and National level for many years.
I found the sport of climbing by participating in a summer camp nine years ago at the Vision Climbing Gym in Canmore. I immediately fell in love with the unique challenge that climbing presented as well as the community that shapes the sport here in the Bow Valley. In my early teens I competed in both cross-country skiing and climbing, but about mid-way through high school, I decided to focus solely on competition climbing. Years later, I am now a member of the Canadian Open National Team and compete year-round at local, national and international events. I am also a full-time University student studying Biology and Psychology at the University of Victoria.
Growing up in Canmore, I was lucky enough to be surrounded, mentored and supported by many of the world’s most talented athletes who also call Canmore home. Athletes such as Chandra Crawford, Sara Renner, Becky Scott, Sonnie Trotter and Will Gadd were and still are such positive and supportive role models to myself and other elite athletes as we try and reach our athletic goals. They have inspired me to strive for success in my mental and physical training as well as mentor inspire the next generation of young athletes in sport and life.
Apart from mentors in the community, my parents have also been an integral part of my development and have shaped athlete and person I am today. They support me as I make my dreams a reality - competing at World Cups each season and supporting my studies at University. Over the years they have spent tireless hours volunteering, accompanying me to competitions and supporting my goals in any way they could. They even built a climbing wall in our backyard when we did not have a gym in Canmore to train at. I most definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without their incredible generosity and support.
During this upcoming 2018 World Cup season I plan to compete at 11 World Cup events plus the World Championships in September 2018 with the overall goal to improve my world ranking. In order to attend all these events, I have decided to take the fall 2018 semester off of school to enable me to train full time as well as compete during the fall months; I couldn’t be more excited to embark on this international season of competition!
Becca's World Cup efforts are proudly supported by the Rocky Mountain Soap Company Women's Run