My LopeLife: Her GCU legacy is her leadership

May 06, 2021 / by / 0 Comment
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Tuesday Chavez, shaking hands with the opposing goaltender after a 2019 game, had a “C” on her jersey because she was captain of the women’s ice hockey team in its first three seasons.

Editor’s note: Reprinted from the April issue of GCU Magazine. For the digital version, click hereMy LopeLife is a feature in which GCU students, staff and alumni share enlightening experiences. To be considered for My LopeLife, please submit a short synopsis of your suggested topic to [email protected] with “My LopeLife” in the subject field. 

By Tuesday Chavez
GCU Magazine

Playing ice hockey has been a major part of my life. I always dreamed of playing college hockey, but living my dream did not seem possible growing up in a place that isn’t known as a hockey hotbed – Albuquerque, New Mexico.

That wasn’t the only obstacle.

Coming to GCU fulfilled the dream Chavez (right) had of playing college hockey.

I became a stronger player when I joined a travel hockey team for boys, but dressing in bathrooms or offices for games was not ideal.

Some of my best memories came when I played on the girls hockey team for my first two years of high school, but I had to switch to the boys team for my last two years because I didn’t think I’d get noticed by college coaches while playing in New Mexico.

My life changed in the summer of 2017. Natalie Rossi was starting a women’s hockey club team at GCU and reached out to me. I did not know anything about GCU but was ecstatic at the thought of playing college hockey.

Then there was another obstacle: When I scheduled a Discover GCU trip, I was scared to leave home and stay somewhere else overnight. Thankfully, I am blessed with amazing parents and sisters, who gave me that push.

During my trip, I fell in love with the campus and felt like a Lope when I attended my first GCU basketball game. I called my mom and told her how amazing my visit was and that I could not wait to attend GCU in the fall.

Nevertheless, my freshman year was difficult I am very close with my family, and being away from them was a challenge. Then hockey practices started, and I immediately felt at home.

Being part of the inaugural season for GCU women’s hockey was impactful, and Coach Rossi has been an amazing mentor. Without her, I never would have had the opportunity to play hockey at such an incredible university.

She also allowed me to join the Club Sports Leadership Class. I have been in these classes for three years and have appreciated every minute. It is an honor, and it has enabled me to meet other influential mentors.

Mark Nelson, Assistant Director of Club Sports, has taught me how to be a leader for my team – and in life. He shares how he overcame leadership struggles as a player and coach. Without him, I would not be the team captain I am today.

Nelson and Club Sports Information Director Jim Howell have worked to bring experienced guest speakers to our class through video conferencing.

One of my best decisions was changing my major to Sports Management my sophomore year. I joined the Sports Business Club, which provides networking and job opportunities.

Chavez used her leadership skills as an assistant coach in the Arizona Coyotes’ Kachinas 12U Elite Girls Hockey Association.

That led me to Game and Equipment Coordinator Taylor Potter’s post for a job in Club Sports game operations. I knew of him, thanks to my Club Sports Leadership Class, and I was excited because I wanted to dive into sports-related roles. He has taught me so much about how games are set up before and after events.

In my junior year, I was offered the chance to be an assistant coach in the Arizona Coyotes’ Kachinas 12U Elite Girls Hockey Association. By applying the leadership skills I had learned, I was able to be a mentor for my players. Having these amazing girls look up to me made me realize the impact I can have on others and how GCU has given me the outlet to express that.

As a senior, I have faced adversity because of COVID-19. I was relieved when we were allowed to return to campus because it is like a second home to me, but when our hockey season was canceled I was disheartened for my team, our coaches and myself. Still, I knew that what was happening to people all over the world was far more important than not playing a few games.

Despite COVID, a light shined through: GCU Club Sports made it possible for us to still have practices and scrimmages while following health guidelines. I am thankful and blessed for any opportunity to be on the ice again.

I want to leave behind my legacy of being one of the original GCU women’s ice hockey players along with my teammate and friend Emily Martinho. Through the ups and downs, Emily and I are the only two players who persevered and dedicated all four years to playing hockey for GCU. I am grateful to have her by my side as we hand down what we started to new Lopes.

Jesus has made all things possible for me, and I am forever appreciative of His blessings. It is bittersweet that I will be graduating from a place I always will hold dear in my heart.

ABOUT TUESDAY CHAVEZ

Tuesday Chavez graduated from Grand Canyon University on April 19 with her bachelor’s degree in Sports Management. She was captain of the GCU women’s club ice hockey team for three years. She participated in the Club Sports Leadership Class and assists in Club Sports game operations, and she is proud to be the first in her family to graduate from a university – and especially as a Lope.

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Related content:

GCU Magazine: My LopeLife: Class of 2020 has powerful perspective

GCU Today: My LopeLife: Master’s degree was the right choice

GCU Magazine: My LopeLife: Strengthening our bonds in hard times

 

 


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