Written by: Tomas Morgan
Emma Maltais, a Toronto native and standout hockey player, has emerged as a dominant athlete after being drafted to the PWHL just a couple of months ago. Her journey, from playing in the boys' program with the Burlington Eagles to captaining the Ohio State University team, is a testament to her dedication and skill on the ice.
Maltais played boys hockey up until Bantam and then transitioned over to the women’s game after being recruited by Oakville. The experience prepared her well for the women's game, allowing her to bring a unique blend of speed and physicality to the ice.
Committing to play Division 1 NCAA hockey at Ohio State was a game-changer for Maltais. As a Canadian player, she was initially shocked by the level of school pride and the abundance of resources. The commitment to Ohio State came early, with Maltais visiting the facilities between grades 8 and 9. Attending a football game during the visit, she realized the magnitude of the school's pride. She knew it was a big program when she saw LeBron James speaking at the football game in front of 80,000 fans.
In her first year at Ohio State, a new coach imposed a no-drinking rule on the team, sparking a necessary culture change. The players, though initially resistant, eventually bonded over their shared discontent with the rules and coaching style. Maltais goes into more detail on the situation in the full episode of the podcast. (The link can be found at the bottom of the page).
As of right now, life at the new PWHL camp involves a rigorous schedule of morning workouts and practices, providing Maltais with the opportunity to focus solely on her training without the added stress of academic responsibilities.
When reflecting on the draft she explains it to be an "out-of-body experience". The overwhelming support she received, coupled with compliments on her attire, made the moment unforgettable.
As a smaller player, Maltais emphasizes off-ice work to maintain strength and power. Her low center of gravity makes it challenging for opponents to dislodge her from the puck. Adjusting to playing against bigger and stronger players required building confidence and refining her play style.
Reflecting on her Olympic experience, Maltais shares the camaraderie among teammates, highlighted by matching tattoos with her fellow fourth-liners and pre-game rituals. Post-Olympics, Maltais pursued an internship with Voice and Sport, gaining valuable marketing experience. She emphasizes the importance of women athletes speaking out about inequality in sports.
Emma Maltais' journey from boys' hockey to becoming an Olympic athlete exemplifies determination, resilience, and a commitment to authenticity. She serves as an inspiration for aspiring female hockey players, encouraging them to pursue their dreams and embrace their unique paths in the world of sports. Connect with Emma on Instagram (@emmamaltais17) and TikTok (@emmamaltais).