From changing in boiler rooms to the Olympic stage, the hockey experience has sure changed for Emily Clark.
The Saskatoon native grew up playing with the boys and changing in whatever room the rink had to spare, but she didn’t mind.
“I just fell in love with the game. I didn’t even think differently when I was changing in the boiler room or kicking refs out so I could get changed in five minutes just so I could go meet up with my team,” Clark said.
Now, at 22, she’s the youngest member of Team Canada and representing her country at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It’s not, however, Clark’s first time sporting the Maple Leaf.
In 2011, she made the under 18 team and helped secure gold medals at the U18 championships in 2012 and 2013.
Eventually, Clark worked her way up to the national team in 2014, which saw her play with some of her idols including Hayley Wickenheiser and Caroline Ouellette.
“It’s pretty surreal to reflect on watching those girls play, and looking up to them, to being alongside them,” she said.
She may think it’s surreal, but making Team Canada is something Clark pledged to herself when she was younger.
The athlete even put it in writing and signed it. It still hangs on the wall of her childhood bedroom.
Now, she’s set to make history in her first Olympics.
“It’s humbling, but a huge honour being able to look down and seeing that crest that you dream of putting on your whole life,” she said.
Women’s hockey begins Feb. 11 at 6:10 a.m. CST against the Olympic Athletes from Russia. Medals will be handed out on Feb. 21.