COLUMBUS, Ohio – Emma Maltais is one step closer to achieving a hockey dream she has had her entire life.
The Burlington, Ontario native has been selected as one of 28 players to centralize with the Canadian National Team as they continue the process to choose its squad for the 2022 Olympic Games. Maltais will train with the team in hopes of making the final roster, which is expected to be announced in late December.
“I’m so honored and excited,” said Maltais. “I’m also so thankful for my experience at Ohio State, the coaches here, and my teammates. I wouldn’t be there without them. And then my family, most especially for their support along the way. They are the best.”
All players and staff will relocate to Calgary at the end of July for centralization and prepare for the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship, Aug. 20-31 at a yet-to-be-determined location, before resuming their Olympic training. The 2021-22 season, pending the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, will include games against the United States and Junior A teams from the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), as well as a potential series against Finland. The full centralization schedule will be announced at a later date.
The 2022 Olympic Winter Games are slated for Feb. 4-20 in Beijing, China.
Maltais isn’t yet done as a Buckeye, though. After being centralized with the Canadian National Team, she plans to return to Ohio State for the 2022-23 season to utilize her additional season of eligibility. So, Ohio State’s active career leader in points (158) isn’t done putting on the Scarlet and Gray quite yet.
“We’re excited for Emma to join such an elite and competitive program,” said head coach Nadine Muzerall. “Any coach would be lucky to have her because she’s going to give you everything she has. She’s a 200-foot hockey player who can do it all. She will go through walls. She is someone that makes any team she is on instantly better.”
Maltais was a Top 10 Finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award for the second consecutive year in 2020-21 and had 16 points on five goals and a team-high 11 assists. In the last eight games of the season – which included four regular season contests and four postseason games – Maltais had a total of 11 points on five goals and six assists. She is a two-time USCHO All-American after earning third team honors in 2020.
That postseason accolade adds to a list that already includes being chosen as an All-WCHA performer for the fourth consecutive year. Maltais is the WCHA’s active career leading scorer with 158 points (55 goals, 103 assists). During a four-point outing on Jan. 29 vs. Minnesota, Maltais became just the second player in program history to reach 100 career assists. Maltais ranks fourth all-time in points (158) and second in assists (103). She’s 21 assists shy of breaking the program record, which is currently held by Laura McIntosh (123 – 2009-12).
Other notable Buckeyes who have centralized and played on the Canadian National Team in the Olympics Games include Tess Bonhomme and Natalie Spooner. Bonhomme won a gold medal for Team Canada in the 2010 Games while Spooner was a gold medalist in 2014 and a won silver in 2018.