Mundleville, New Brunswick to the University of New Hampshire, 782 Km’s, that’s the distance between Talli Warren’s dreams and reality.
Warren’s journey in the game started like many other kids from rural New Brunswick, skating in the elements and local rinks that were considered sacred institutions in those areas.
“My first recollection of playing the game was jumping on the ice at the outdoor rink,” said Warren.
Warren grew to love the game almost instantly.
“I would tag along with my older brother and his friends and being in awe of how good they could skate.”
“I wanted to be able to keep up to them at a young age,” confessed Warren.
“I also vaguely remember playing at my first real tournament in Moncton and skating in the Coliseum at the time,” said Warren who is entering her season with the U of NH Wildcats.
Hockey was a way of life in the Warren household.
“I’d say my whole family introduced me to the game.”
“I grew up watching all my older cousins play and eventually following my older brother Noah around the rinks.”
Warren’s focus and attention to detail started very early.
“My mom often talks about the times I went to the rink to watch my brother.”
“At three years old, I would sit in the stands alone and focus on the game or practice without saying a word.”
“Two years after that, I tied up my skates,” Warren said proudly.
The dream to play elite level hockey
has always been the driving force behind her path in the game.
Early adversity has been the defining moment for so many players in the game.
Talli Warren is no different.
“I knew I wanted to play at elite level at eleven years old,” said the smooth skating two-way defender.
“I had got an invite to try out for Hockey NB as a double underager.”
“There were girls and friends that were older than me playing there and I had always wanted to keep up to them.”
“Not making that team at that age was devastating to me.”
“I knew from that day on I wanted to make something out of my hockey career,” stressed Warren.
Warren channeled that disappointment and poured her heart and soul into the game.
Warren is quick to credit her family and two coaches for their unwavering support.
“The first coach I remember making an impact on my career was Glen Campbell.”
“Glen coached me in Atom and made me a better player by simply just believing in me and my style of play.”
“One of my favorite women’s hockey coaches was Zach Ball.”
“Zach coached me at Canada Winter Games.”
“My 2000 born age group was supposed to miss out on the opportunity to play in the Canada Games, but I got called up as a underager and it was one of the best experiences of my life.”
“I went with some of my best friends to this day and playing at that level at that age was something I will never forget.”
“I have had many mentors along the way, but a couple that stick out are my older cousin Sawyer Hannay who always understood my struggles and adversity from living through some of it in his hockey career,” a reflective Warren said.
Warren will never forget an inspirational experience with Andrews Hockey showcases.
“I remember first starting to go to Andrews Hockey showcases and listening to players like Jill Saulnier and other University and national team women’s players talk and thinking that this was all attainable.”
“I still find old notebooks with “I will play in the NCAA” or “My dream is to play University hockey” from Andrews camps at 10 years old,” Warren said.
Every successful journey in the game starts with the dream.
Role models and mentors only strengthen that dream.
“Kacey Bellamy and Alexis Crossley were also two other role models and mentors throughout my hockey career and still to this day.”
“Alexis and Kacey have exceptional backgrounds in the game.”
“I had the dream of playing where they were playing, when I was younger I looked up to them a lot.”
“To this day I am lucky to still have contact with them and help along the road,” Warren said.
It’s been a long and winding road for Warren who made the difficult decision to leave home at a very young age to pursue her hockey dreams.
“Leaving home at a young age was definitely scary.”
“Moving to another country at twelve years old was something I would have never even thought I would ever do.”
Challenges and adversity have always fuelled and Warren’s passion and love for the game.
“It was difficult at times, but for the most part it was smooth sailing,” admitted Warren.
“Leaving home so young made me grow up quick.”
“I learned a lot of things on my own and it made me very independent at a young age.”
Warren is extremely proud of her accomplishments thus far in the game, but it’s clear she’s on a mission to improve and get better every single day.
“I feel very accomplished and grateful to have the opportunity to play US college hockey.”
“I am a very competitive person and getting to play the best female players for my age group in the world, including many Olympians from various countries is amazing,” Warren said proudly.
“Doing all that while receiving a top tier education is very rewarding.”
Warren offers this advice for young aspiring players dreaming about pursuing their path in the game.
“You have to be committed,” said Warren.
“You will have to miss things, parties, family functions because of hockey schools, practices, workouts, but it will all make it worth it in the end.”
“Commit to hockey everyday for an amount of time, shoot pucks and do extra work.”
“Growing up and playing on many teams and different players you could easily tell who did the extra things and were committed.”
“I can still see that to this day at the Division I level.,” explained Warren.
“You need to also believe in yourself and have confidence in your play.”
“Having confidence and work ethic will get you a long way.”
Talli Warren has come along way in the game, but continues to push herself to get better.
Warren has been part of Derek Cormier and Rick Leger’s Pro Evolution Training Program for the last three summers.
“Physically I think I have been the strongest and most ready for the season I have ever been in the last two years,” admitted Warren who’s in the gym and on ice five times a week.
“The training challenges me everyday and makes me better everyday.”
Warren is in a league of her own during the summer training sessions.
“I am fortunate to have the pro and QMJHL guys in my group to make me better everyday.”
“It is sometimes intimidating skating with the guys and being the only girl, but they challenge me to be my best and create a very welcoming environment.”
“We are all very lucky to have Derek and Rick here locally that are so committed to our development and are so knowledgeable in their respective fields,” stressed Warren.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming season south of the border Warren is trying to remain optimistic.
“As of right now, I am taking it day by day and waiting to see what happens with my return to school and the season.”
“It looks like we will be returning to campus, quarantining for two weeks then starting our season.”
“My goals for this upcoming season is to continue improving my game and taking more of a leadership and prominent role on the team.”
“With the recruiting class coming in and the well rounded team we have already, I am very confident in the strides our team will take this year and I want to have a impact on the success.”
Spoken like a true veteran leader and team first player.
What about after her college career?
Would the kid from Mundleville, New Brunswick play pro?
“I think playing professionally is definitely on my radar after my college hockey career.”
“I think time will tell, but I am very interested in playing in Europe professionally and being able to travel for a couple years after college, said Warren who is currently majoring in Social Work.
“I think that would be an amazing experience,” Warren said of playing pro in Europe.
Talli Warren’s journey in the game is a perfect example of never giving up on a dream and pursuing that dream until it becomes a reality.
Warren unrelenting passion and love for the game coupled with the support from her family is truly inspirational.
“My parents have been my biggest supporters and fans throughout my entire career.”
“They have made the biggest difference in my career and got me to where I am at today.”
“From spending many summers in PEI for hockey camps when I was seven to now, they have always been there for me.”
Warren’s parents make the 782 Km trek every weekend to watch all of their daughters home games.
“People can’t even believe they do that,” Warren said proudly.
“They sacrificed a lot of their social and work life so I could be at the best camps and all the elite tournaments.”
“I always look for them when I first step on the ice for warm ups.”
“My brother is also one of my biggest fans and is the most supportive people in my life.”
“He has lived through all the long days at the rink and time away from his family when we were away for weeks at a time for my goals and dreams,” Warren said.
Every hockey player has dreams.
Those dreams are often shared, but it takes a special person and player to make those dreams a reality.
Talli Warren is living out her dreams every time she laces them up.
Every time she steps on the ice, she’s living that dream for all the people who helped her along the road.
From New Brunswick to New Hampshire, from dream to reality the long and winding road of hockey dreams continues for Talli Warren.