Ohio State defensemen Tessa Bonhomme (Canada), Lisa Chesson (USA) and Emma Laaksonen (Finland) compete in event second only to Olympics

COLUMBUS, Ohio Three former defensemen for the Ohio State women’s hockey team will represent their home nations while competing in the 2009 IIHF World Women’s Championship beginning Saturday in Hameenlinna, Finland. Tessa Bonhomme will suit up for Canada while Lisa Chesson will don the U.S. sweater and Emma Laaksonen will captain Team Finland on home ice.

The three nations, United States, Canada and Finland, are the top seeds of their respective groups for round-robin play, April 4-6, and will not meet until those opening games are concluded. Once the teams are regrouped, qualifying play continues April 8-10. Medal contenders will then play April 12 in the bronze medal and gold medal games.

Considering the former Buckeyes all play on teams that maintained the Top 3 places in the IIHF World Rankings leading up to the event, the odds of the former teammates facing each other in the second slate of games are high. 

The United States is the defending champion, but in the 11 previous Women’s Worlds Championship, Canada has grabbed the gold medal nine times, with the United States winning the other two; in 2005 and last year in Harbin, China (while under the direction of Buckeye head coach Jackie Barto). The event is second in international women’s hockey competition only to the Winter Olympics.

Tessa Bonhomme Bio (2004-08):

Bonhomme, a native of Sudbury, Ontario, was a member of the gold-medal winning Canadian National Women’s Team at the 2007 IIHF World Women’s Championship and participated in the Olympic Centralization Program in 2005-06. A member of three Four Nations Cup rosters, Bonhomme helped Team Canada win gold in 2005 and ’06. She played with the Calgary Oval X-treme of the Western Women’s Hockey League this past season.

Bonhomme concluded her Ohio State career as one of the best to ever wear the Scarlet and Gray. Among her achievements, Bonhomme was the first Buckeye to be named an AHCA First Team All-America honoree as well as receive both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. She earned both as a senior after leading the NCAA in defenseman scoring.

In February, Bonhomme was named to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s “Top 10 Players of the First 10 Years.” She concluded her career as the second-highest scoring defenseman in the WCHA with 128 points, just two shy of the record. A Second Team All-America honoree as a junior, Bonhomme was Ohio State’s first two-time finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the top Division I women’s hockey player in the nation. She also was the first Buckeye to be a two-time First Team All-WCHA pick and first to be named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team.

Lisa Chesson Bio (2005-08):

Chesson, from Plainfield, Ill., has been participating in the U.S. Residency Program in Blaine, Minn., since September along with former Buckeye forward Erin Keys (2005-08). Chesson was a member of the U.S. Women’s Select Team that won the silver medal at the 2007 Four Nations Cup as well as part of the U.S. Under-22 team that summer.

Chesson served as an assistant captain for the Buckeyes in 2007-08 and picked up her third All-WCHA honor of her career, being named to the second team after previous back-to-back third-team nods. She completed her career with 89 points to stand ninth all-time in the OSU record books and fourth in defenseman scoring. She totaled 27 goals and 62 assists in her four seasons and ranks seventh in power play points with 47.

Emma Laaksonen Bio (2001-04):

Laaksonen, of Espoo, Finland, helped build the foundation of women’s hockey at Ohio State and was the first Buckeye to earn several awards. Among them, Laaksonen became the first to earn All-America honors, named to the second team in 2002 by the American Hockey Coaches Association. As part of the 10th anniversary of the Ohio State women’s hockey team, the program retired Laaksonen’s No. 3 last October.

As a sophomore, Laaksonen also was named a Top 10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award presented annually to the best Division I women’s hockey player in the nation. That season, she was a Second Team All-WCHA honoree by the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Along with helping to build the Ohio State women’s hockey program, Laaksonen has played a key role in the development of the sport in her home country of Finland. She is a three-time Olympian for Team Finland, serving as a captain in 2002 and 2006, and prior to coming to Ohio State, she won a bronze medal in the 1998 Nagano Games. Laaksonen has played with and captained Team Finland in a number of other international events, including IIHF World Women’s Championships and Four Nations Cups.

2009 IIHF World Women’s Championships (Group Schedule)

 Group A  GroupB  Group C USA Canada  Finland Russia  Sweden Switzerland Japan  China Kazakhstan

Saturday, April 4 (All Times EDT/Local)
8 a.m./3 p.m.   CHN CAN
10 a.m./5 p.m. JPN USA
Noon/7 p.m.    KAZ FIN
Sunday, April 5
8 a.m./3 p.m.   RUS JPN
10 a.m./5 p.m. SUI KAZ
Noon/7 p.m.    SWE CHN
Monday, April 6  
8 a.m./3 p.m.   USA RUS
10 a.m./5 p.m. CAN SWE
Noon/7 p.m.     FIN SUI