Tammy Shewchuk Dryden '01

Ice Hockey | Class of 2016

Harvard Athletic Achievements

2002 Olympic gold medalist (Canada)
Helped Harvard win the AWCHA National Championship, Ivy League Championship, and ECAC Championship in 1999
2001 Patty Kazmaier Award finalist
Two-time All-American (1999, 2001)
Three-time All-ECAC selection (1999, 2000, 2001)
Ranks second in career points (307) and goals (152), and is fourth in assists (155)

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I am so very grateful to the Harvard Varsity Club for this honor and recognition.  I feel humbled and privileged to join a list of incredibly impressive and inspiring individuals whose accomplishments reach much further than the field, court, track, pool or rink.

It is incredibly difficult to put into words just what ‘My Harvard Experience’ has meant to me.  As a little girl growing up in Montreal, the daughter of a single dad, being able to attend a school such as Harvard is something that I never dreamed possible.  My father, on the other hand, knew better.  From the time he first pushed me out onto the ice, he always said that everything is possible with hard work – whether it was in the classroom or the rink, if one poured their heart and soul into something, only good can come of it.  I remember that it was with these invaluable life lessons, a couple of bins, and my hockey bag that he dropped me off in The Yard in the fall of ’96,

I quickly became very grateful to be a Harvard athlete.  It seemed from the moment I stepped on campus, there was a population of DHA-clad folks who were more than ready to invite me into the tribe.  I can only imagine how daunting and intimidating my first few weeks at school would have been has it not been for this tribe and more specifically the absolutely amazing girls I met who would become my teammates, and lifelong friends.  As I look back, I find it incredible that my senior captain, Colleen Malek, along with all of the upper classmen, not only tolerated a ridiculously cocky freshman like me, but welcomed me into the fold.  After my entire youth hockey career was spent as the only girl, not only on every team, but in every league I ever played in to that point, and with the isolation that came with that, it was through these incredible ladies, and all of my subsequent teammates that I learned what ‘Team’ is…  ‘Team’, in short, means family.  For much of my life, a great deal of my identity and self-worth was tied to how many goals I could score.  And while I didn’t get it right away, it was my teammates that helped me to realize that ‘Team’ is unconditional – win or lose.  In subsequent years ‘Team’ has always come through in this sense despite distance and time, in good times and bad, through weddings, births, funerals, or a just a regular Wednesday, ‘Team’ is an unwavering constant.

Along with the wonderful bonds that were formed that first fall, once the season began, it didn’t take very long to fully understand how fortunate I was to be part of Harvard Hockey and the long tradition of excellence it has come to represent.  More specifically, with women’s hockey still very much evolving at that time I am so grateful to pioneers of the game like Joe Bertagna, Kelly Landry, Julie Sassner, and Sandra Whyte, who, with patience and persistence started this program from virtually nothing and gave it a very strong foundation to build upon.  By my sophomore year, due in large part to the vision of Athletic Director Bill Cleary, and our very passionate and dedicated Coach Katey Stone, who I can never thank enough for the opportunity she gave me, we had come from having a losing season in 1997 to being a national powerhouse, winning the National Championship in 1999, and the Beanpot my sophomore, junior, and senior year.

Yet despite our success on the ice, with the exception of a few plays here and there, it is not the goals or wins that have stuck with me since graduation.  What has lasted, is that sense of ‘Team’ and the wonderful people who helped make my time at Harvard so oneiric.  From ridiculous initiation dance rituals, to countless hours spent in the dining halls laughing about who knows what, there are very few memories I have that don’t include these amazing individuals in some way.  I definitely can’t remember what the final score was of any of our Beanpot wins, but I’ll always remember the bus trips to the games, and the long hours spent in the Blue Light District.  I don’t think I will ever recall what drills we specifically did during practice, but I will always smile thinking of how a very wise teammate discovered that long, very painful drills would mercifully end faster once all the pucks were either inconspicuously chucked over the boards or hidden in our hockey pants.  And it definitely goes without saying that I don’t remember a single thing from any of my classes, but will always remember riding Chappy to the rink, “BU swim team”, hours in the training room icing and stimming, hockey punch, the couch in left field, and arguing my ultimately losing case to the Finemaster.   It will always be these weird, random memories, not the wins or losses that will forever stay with me.

While there are so many hockey teammates who made my Harvard experience so memorable, it is a Harvard Baseball player that has made my life.  By far and away the best thing to have come out of my time at Harvard was meeting my husband, Michael Dryden.  While I didn’t know it back then when we began dating in the spring of our Junior year, it was the start of something so indescribably wonderful that somehow gets better every day.  It is now with Michael that I continue to put the lessons of ‘Team’ to use in raising our sons, Hunter and Blake.    I could never express how thankful I am each and every day to have them and their love and support.  

I constantly think of my Father’s words - when you pour your heart and soul into something, only good can come of it.  How true.  I have the best possible ‘good’ far beyond a diploma or records or gold medals.  Because of my family and friends, I am reminded every day of the positively life changing impact Harvard has had on me and could not be more grateful to be recognized by this institution that has provided me with so much.  Thank-you again to the Harvard Varsity Club for this honor, and congratulations to the other honorees.