Game 4 of the Rivalry Series between the Canadian National Women’s Team and the United States National Women’s Team is set for Wednesday evening at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. You can watch live on TSN starting at 7pm PT.
Canada got back in the series with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win on Monday, cutting their series deficit to two games to one.
Former Okanagan Hockey Academy student athlete Emily Clark registered her first point of the series on Monday, picking up an assist on the first goal of the game.
We caught up with Clark to get her thoughts on the importance of the series and her remarkable career so far, which includes competing in the Olympics and winning an NCAA Championship.
Okanagan Hockey Group (OHG): How important are events like the Rivalry Series to showcase women’s hockey across different parts of North America and give the opportunity for people to see it live?
Emily Clark (EC): It’s huge. That’s why we do the travel, to expose our game to so many different regions across Canada. Girls can see us in person and be inspired to follow their dreams. We are able to showcase how good the quality of our game is and prove that people love to watch.
OHG: You spent two seasons at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton prior to going to the University of Wisconsin. Looking back on it now, how was your experience attending a Hockey Canada Accredited School?
EC: I grew a lot in my two seasons at OHA. For me, it was good to be surrounded by like-minded people that wanted to strive for the National Team or play either NCAA or USports. What was huge for me was, when I was playing back at home prior to attending OHA, I was either in the gym or on the ice before school, then had a full day of school, then was doing my team workouts or practices on top of whatever else I had going on. To be able to have the day condensed at OHA, gave me everything I possibly needed to do my best scholastically and on the ice.
OHG: What was the experience like for you moving away from home (Saskatoon) for your final two years of high school?
EC: When you are away from home like that, you grow up pretty quick, but your teammates and the girls you’re around become your family. Some of the people I met at OHA are still some of my best friends today. I couldn’t say enough good things about my time there.
OHG: After OHA, you went on to have a great career at the University of Wisconsin, capping it off with a National Championship this past season. How special was it to go out the way you did, as a national champion?
EC: I had an amazing career there and can’t say enough good things about my time there as well. I have been pretty lucky in the placec I have ended up. To be able to finish like that, after tough losses in the previous seasons, it was so rewarding. It was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. It was incredible.
OHG: In 2018, dreams come true and you’re named to the Canadian Olympic Team. You have had a few years to look back on it now, but how special was it to be named to that team?
EC: It’s so surreal, even trying to look back on it now. I still have moments where I pinch myself and am like “wow, I went to the Olympics!” At the time, it definitely didn’t sink in until I was walking in the Opening Ceremonies, that’s when you know it’s about to start. Getting my first games there under my belt and trying to take a moment each and every day to realize I just made my dream come true. It’s still surreal to this day even two years later.
OHG: Speaking of the Opening Ceremonies, that had to be nerve-racking knowing how many millions of people from around the world are watching?
EC: You’re so in the moment that you’re not thinking about your nerves or anything else. I think knowing what it’s like at home when the Olympics are on, no matter what anyone is doing, televisions are on the Olympics. It doesn’t even feel real as you’re doing it. Now, I get to take my medal around and share it with people, which is the best part about it now.
OHG: Thanks for your time, Emily. Best of luck the rest of the way!
EC: Thank you!
Going to OHA was one of the greatest decisions I have made for my hockey career. OHA prepared me for the next level. Skating, strength, speed, conditioning. I wouldn't be the player and person that I am today if I hadn’t chosen OHA."