NewsField HockeyAbby Tamer

Tamer Family Bragging Rights Now Rest Securely With Youngest Daughter Abby

by Alex Abrams

Abby Tamer looks on before a field hockey match during the Pan American Games Santiago 2023 on Nov. 04, 2023 in Santiago, Chile. (Photo by Joe Kusumoto)

Growing up, Abby Tamer competed against her two older siblings in any activity that could end with one of them being crowned the winner.


It didn’t matter what Emma, Christopher or Abby Tamer were doing. None of them wanted to lose — a trait that runs in their family.


Their father, Chris Tamer, played 11 years in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and Atlanta Thrashers. And their mother, the former Keely Libby, starred on the University of Michigan’s field hockey team in the early 1990s.


“Calling my family competitive would be an understatement,” said Abby Tamer, a native of Whitmore Lake, Michigan, which is just north of Ann Arbor. “I’m not sure I could recall a completely ‘friendly’ game of anything, whether it be a board game, skiing down a mountain or a workout that we do at my dad’s gym. Everything becomes a competition between us, and to my best knowledge, we all enjoy it.”


No one is one-upping the youngest Tamer anytime soon.


Abby, now 20 and a junior at the University of Michigan, is one of the newest members of the U.S. women’s field hockey team, and in January she scored the goal that sent the squad to the Olympic Games Paris 2024.


The Americans, under new coach David Passmore, earned three consecutive shutout victories to make an unexpected run to the semifinals of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier in Ranchi, India. They just needed to beat Japan on Jan. 18 to secure a spot for Paris 2024.


After Japan scored in the third quarter to take a 1-0 lead, U.S. team captain Ashley Hoffman tied it with a goal in the fourth quarter. Tamer then scored the game-winner when she happened to be in the right place at the right time late in the 2-1 victory over Japan.


“I remember being in a rebound position, and the ball came right out to me, which I was actually expecting,” Tamer said. “I trapped it and swung and knew that I wanted to get it in the air because that would’ve been much harder to deal with.


“I remember hitting it and seeing the back netting move, so I knew it went in.”

Passmore said Tamer’s “great” reverse-stick finish on the goal “is a difficult skill, especially under pressure.”


After scoring, Tamer pumped her fists and nearly fell to her knees before she was mobbed by her teammates. As soon as the game ended, they celebrated the team qualifying for its first Olympics since the 2016 Rio Games.


Tamer remembered being in middle school and watching with her family as the Americans competed in Rio.


“We always had the Olympics on, whether it be the Summer or Winter Games, and we would watch most of the events,” Tamer said. “I had just started playing field hockey during the 2016 Rio Olympics, so that was the first time I had really followed the USA team there.


“I still remember having watch parties for the games and being so invested in them. Watching those Olympics definitely contributed to how much I wanted to be a part of that.”


Tamer grew up playing soccer and ice hockey with her siblings, but she decided at age 12 to try field hockey because her parents wanted her to play multiple sports. She admitted she initially wasn’t a big fan of field hockey.


“I actually didn’t love it to begin with, and if my parents would’ve let me, I probably would’ve quit a short bit into the season,” Tamer said. “But my parents were big on seeing things through, and by a month of playing, I loved it and already had dreams of playing in college.”


Tamer’s mother was one of her first field hockey coaches and taught her about the tactics of the game. She learned about the technical side of field hockey from Emma while playing in their backyard.

Abby Tamer fends off her opponent in her women's field hockey match against Uruguay during the Pan American Games Santiago 2023 (Photo by World Sport Pics)

When it was time for Tamer to make her college decision, she said it wasn’t a given that she would go to Michigan and play for the Wolverines like her father had in ice hockey (1989-93) or her mother (1989-93) and sister (2018-21) in field hockey.


“I did the whole process of visiting all of the schools and talking to all of the coaches, but when it came to it, I don’t think I truly saw myself anywhere other than Michigan,” Tamer said. “We grew up going to different Michigan sports. I always got Michigan gear for birthdays or Christmas.”


Tamer started at forward during her first two seasons at Michigan, but she redshirted the 2023 season to train with the U.S. national team in Charlotte, North Carolina.


In November, she helped the Americans earn a silver medal at the 2023 Pan American Games in Chile. She finished tied for the team lead in goals with four.


“I actually find myself going to my dad for advice more now that I’m playing at a much higher level than when I was younger,” Tamer said. “He offers so much knowledge about how to be professional and how to handle things that might not come up in youth athletics, which has been very valuable.”


Tamer said she decided to take classes this semester to give her something else to focus on instead of just field hockey. But she’s already looking forward to 2026.


“To play in the Paris Olympics would be such a dream come true. I don’t think that I have all of the words to truly express that,” Tamer said. “I, and so many of my teammates, would be so honored to have the opportunity to represent the USA on the biggest stage in sports. It would be a tribute to not only all of our hard work but also to every person who’s been involved in our journeys.”

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