Burford’s Emma Woods will be in the hunt for a gold medal at this year’s under-18 women’s hockey tournament in Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
Woods, 16, will fly out on Sunday and play forward for the Ontario Red team in the eight-team tournament that features the best young hockey players in Canada.
“The Ontario Red team is the top team,” Woods said. “I can’t remember the last time they didn’t come first. Last year, I was on the Ontario Blue team, so this is a step up and I’m hoping to get the gold medal.”
Ontario Red has won the gold medal all seven times the tournament has been held since 2001.
Woods won a spot on an Ontario Red team she will be quite familiar with, given that all 20 of her teammates compete with or against her in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League.
The Grade 12 student at Paris District High School plays for the Cambridge Rivulettes in the PWHL.
This is Woods’ sophomore campaign in the league. She posted 14 points in 34 games and was the second-leading scorer for the Kitchener-Waterloo Lady Rangers in her rookie season last year.
Woods played boys ice hockey until she reached bantam age, when she switched to the Brantford Girls Hockey Association.
After a couple of seasons with the Ice Cats, she got the chance to play in the PWHL last season.
That’s when Woods realized she wanted to pursue making a high-level team.
“I knew some of the girls that were on the under-18 team and I knew I could make it there,” she said. “My next goal will be the under-22 national team.”
Woods describes herself as a defence-first forward.
“My speed and my size are my best assets,” she said. “But I think more defensively. I don’t like to be scored on when I’m on the ice.”
Ontario Red is in a pool with Atlantic Canada, British Columbia and Saskatchewan in the preliminary rounds of the upcoming under-18 women’s hockey tournament.
Woods and the Ontario Red team will kick off the tournament when they play the Atlantic Canada team on Nov. 7.