COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s ice hockey team has announced its captains for the 2020-21 season, which include two captains and two alternate captains. The two captains chosen to lead the squad are Emma Maltais (Burlington, Ontario) and Liz Schepers (Mound, Minn.). Dawning the “A” for the Buckeyes will be Tatum Skaggs (Hartland, Wis.) and Lisa Bruno (Whitby, Ontario).
The four rising seniors accounted for nearly half of the team’s points last season, as Maltais, Schepers and Skaggs are all on the Buckeye’s top line. Bruno, the leadership team’s only blueliner, tallied 11 points of her own while recording a plus 18 on ice to anchor the defense. Maltais led the 2019-20 team with a program-high 59 points while Schepers posted a team-high 22 goals and Skaggs dished out a career-high 25 assists.
“Being named an assistant captain this year is truly a great honor,” Skaggs said. “I am so excited to help lead the team this year with all 22 others on the team. I hope to bring my positive energy and motivation into this new season.”
Alongside Skaggs, Bruno added, “Being given the opportunity to be a leader of such a special team, alongside three of my great friends and teammates, comes with much honor and excitement. With the trust and respect from my teammates, I look to lead by example, always be encouraging and inspire those around me in achieving success.”
Maltais and Schepers recently caught up with OhioStateBuckeyes.com for a Q&A about their new roles as captains for the 2020-21 season.
You’re both leaders on the ice in your point production but how do you see your role changing now that you’re captains for your senior year?
“It’s an honor to be trusted by our teammates and coaching staff to be in this position. I think an important piece of being a captain is staying true to myself. In the end, not much changes other than us now being the line of communication between the players and the coaches. Personally, I think that I can be a leader who leads by example with work ethic and commitment. I’m hoping to motivate and push my teammates but also to be there for them if they need anything by being as approachable as I can be.” – Maltais
“Being named captain is a huge honor, and an even bigger responsibility. I’m going to continue to be myself, pushing to get the most out of myself and my teammates. I hope to continue to bring a calm energy to the team, and be someone that my teammates can rely on to be consistent on and off the ice. I am also looking forward to being the bridge between the coaches and the team and communicating effectively. I couldn’t ask for a better team to lead, or for a better group to lead with.” – Schepers
Team culture is very important for this team. How do you both fit into creating and maintaining that culture that’s created success for you?
“We truly believe that our culture is what sets us apart from the rest of the nation, and it has been extremely rewarding to experience the success that it has brought us. When you have a team that has fully buys into a culture, takes pride in it, and creates that trust with each other, you can accomplish anything. Culture is dynamic and requires constant effort and input to remain great, so having been a part of it for three years now, Emma and I take on that responsibility. It’s on us to live our culture every day, instill it into our incoming players, and make sure everyone else is meeting the expectations we have set as a team.” – Schepers
“Our culture at Ohio State is something that is very unique and is what truly makes us a family. Over the last three years, Liz and I have been fortunate to be a part of a culture that is simply filled with love and willingness to do anything for each other. Our culture has been built from pillars to success and I think a big part of continuing the culture is to ensure that we are exemplifying these pillars. It is important for us to introduce the freshmen into our culture by showing them what it means to be a Buckeye every day and how it feels to be a part of this family.” – Maltais
What are some qualities that make your co-captain fit for this role and what will they bring to the team?
“Liz is going to be phenomenal captain. From the moment she has stepped on campus she has not stopped continuing to better herself and those around her by her commitment, professionalism and loyalty. Liz is someone who can command a room not only because of her calm, cool and collected personality but also because of the undeniable passion she has for hockey and for those around her. Lisa will add to the dynamic with being such a positive person, who seems to always know exactly what to say.” – Maltais
“Emma is a natural leader. She is never outworked and will do anything to win or get ahead. The impact she has on the ice is obvious, but what people don’t see is the extra work she is always putting in and how committed she is to getting the best out of each and every one of her teammates. Emma is someone everyone respects and has a great relationship with, and you can always count on her to lighten up the locker room! We rely on her in every situation, and she always delivers.” – Schepers
Also, how will Tatum and Lisa add to the dynamic and the culture that you’re hoping to establish this year?
“You can always count on Lisa and Tatum to bring the energy! Aside from being major contributors for our team on the ice, they are two of the most selfless and genuine people I know and have played a huge role in forming our culture. They are always looking to lift others up and help to create a really special environment within our team. They are extremely deserving and I couldn’t be prouder to serve as captain alongside them!” – Schepers
“Lisa will be an amazing leader because she is someone who is so reliable. Tatum embodies our “family” culture. Tatum will also be an amazing leader because she is always willing to go the extra mile to bring everyone up and I think that energy and welcoming feel is something that is so important. All in all, I am really excited I get the opportunity to share this experience with three of my classmates.” – Maltais
You’ve had some incredible leadership before you with Jincy Dunne and Olivia Soares. What will you be taking from last year going into next year or what do hope to build on or make your own?
“It is pretty hard to follow in the footsteps of Jincy and Liv. They were undeniably some of the best leaders Ohio State has ever seen. I have learned so much from them not only as leaders but as people, a lot of which that has changed the way I have looked at certain situations and how I have dealt with adversity. With that, every leader is different, and I think that although they did such a good job, I could never duplicate what they have done. I am going to use everything I have learned from them and continue to learn throughout the experience.” – Maltais
Looking back at the last three years, we’ve had some unbelievable leaders, and I’m lucky to have had the chance to learn from them! Something that I was always so impressed with from Liv and Jincy was their ability to stay composed through stressful situation. It seemed like nothing could shake them, and that had a huge impact on our whole locker room. Another thing I have learned from them is how being captain is never about you, it’s always about the team. They were always looking out for everyone else before themselves, carried more responsibility than we could’ve ever asked them to, and created meaningful relationships with each of us. I’m thankful for their leadership and am looking forward to continuing the raise the bar they have set.” – Schepers
This team is getting better year after year and with this last season’s finish, I think people have high expectations for what’s next. What’s your expectation for next year?
“It’s crazy to look back and see how far we have come as a program, and we all believe that the best is still to come! Everyone wants to win a National Championship, and we are absolutely looking to defend our WCHA title, but those are still a long way away. We expect and trust that everyone comes back prepared for the season, and hungry to finish the job we didn’t get the chance to finish this past year. Personally, I am focusing on things I can control by enjoying the process, and embracing my final summer of training so we can make next season the best yet!” – Schepers
“I think that it is really easy to answer this question by saying win a National Championship or win another WCHA Championship. But I think it’s important to remember that our success did not come from us expecting to win. I think that we have to earn our respect once again and take each weekend one game at a time because that’s when we play Buckeye hockey.” – Maltais