Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
The youngest of six children (four boys, two girls) Clark was enveloped by hockey from the start. Instead of bedtime stories at home in Saskatoon, the family’s nightly ritual was watching hockey highlights on TV. One night, a story appeared on one of those shows that sparked a dream in young Emily.
The 21-year-old centre is one of Hockey Canada’s most promising young players and is quickly rising in the team’s ranks. Described as gritty and hard-working by her coaches, Clark is now trying to crack the women’s roster for the Olympics. Twenty-eight players are in the mix right now — a number that will be trimmed to the 23 who will represent Canada in South Korea this winter.
Clark and Team Canada are in the midst of traveling across Alberta, playing a total of 24 games against teams in the province’s triple-A Midget Hockey League, which is made up of boys born mostly in 2000 and 2001. Then it’s on to a six-game series against the United States women’s national team, beginning Oct. 22 in Quebec City.
Clark beams when she talks about her Saskatoon roots, pointing to the many women’s hockey greats who have come from Saskatchewan. She recalls watching Colleen Sostorics and Dana Antal while growing up. Then, just last year, she played alongside one of her heroes, the legendary Hayley Wickenheiser.
“To be able to follow in their footsteps is pretty awesome,” she says. “I think across Canada, Wickenheiser was an influence on all women hockey players. What she did resonated with me in a big way, having come from Saskatchewan.”
Now Clark is trying to create her own legacy.
“We’d spend three or four hours out on the pond. You couldn’t get us off the ice,” Emily recalls.
“I’ve definitely seen some closets,” she laughs. “It wasn’t until about Bantam that I was changing on my own.”
Those early days influenced Clark’s father, Del, who is the operations manager for two of Saskatoon’s largest rink facilities. Del has created fully furnished female dressing rooms in both complexes.
“I wasn’t a feeling like I was a girl playing boys hockey, but that I was a hockey player.”
It wasn’t before long Clark had her own place to change before games. She became a standout with the local women’s Midget team, which she joined when she was only 13 — making her a couple years younger than the typical player.
“That first season with the [Saskatoon] Stars was a big learning curve,” she says. “I was on the bench a lot. Then after that my career took off. I got my first national tryout.”
“I was in the car with my parents and we were traveling to Shattuck-St. Mary’s [the famed Minnesota school that Sidney Crosby attended] to a camp that college scouts were at and my mom checked her phone,” she recalls.
“There was an email about a U-18 invite for Team Canada. I was 15. It’s been a crazy ride since then.”
Clark says that, when she first came to play with players she had watched at the Olympics, she was wide-eyed, shy and didn’t say more than “five or six words.” It couldn’t be more different today. She feels part of a group now looking to capture a fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal for Canada.
“Every day we’re preparing for that gold-medal game,” she says. “I’ve always been hopeful and this has always been my goal. It’s surreal it’s becoming a reality.