One of only 14 women to have donned the privilege of donning the C on her jersey, it symbolizes Emma Woods’ remarkable run with the Quinnipiac Bobcats. Arriving in Hamden, Connecticut in the autumn of 2013, Emma Woods was a prodigious talent whose athletic resume was nothing short of impressive.
Having played with both Team Ontario Blue and Team Ontario Red at the Canadian Under-18 nationals, where she called Bobcats competitor Emma Greco a teammate, she would also excel in badminton, baseball and tennis at the high school level.
Competing with the PWHL’s Cambridge Rivulettes, named in honor of the legendary Preston Rivulettes from the 1930s, it was not the only unique connection to hockey history in Woods’ career. In 2011, she would win the Phyllis Gretzky Memorial Award for Female Youth Leadership from the Brantford Sports Council. As a side note, the award is named in honor of Wayne Gretzky’s mother.
With the first half of her Bobcats career consisting of ECAC Rookie of the Month honors in her debut month (October 2013), she would finish her inaugural campaign among the top 15 freshmen scorers in NCAA hockey, while leading all ECAC rookies in goals scored. Woods’ sophomore season would feature the highlight of being named the Most Outstanding Player at the 2014 Nutmeg Classic, while her assiduous devotion in the classroom led to a spot on the ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team.
Throughout her four seasons with the Bobcats, Woods found tremendous inspiration in the four women who represented the captaincy before her. From the likes of Amanda Colin, and Morgan Fritz-Ward, who would play in the NWHL’s inaugural season, to Erica Uden Johansson, the first European-born captain in program history, and Cydney Roesler, who also joined the professional ranks of the NWHL this season, Woods built on their legacy, respectfully acknowledging their preceding impact,
“To be named team captain in my senior season was an honor. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a captain on this team amongst the many leaders we have.
They were definitely big shoes to fill following Cyd Roesler the year before, Morgan Fritz-Ward, Erica Uden Johansson, and Amanda Colin, who all did such an incredible job with the team, and leaving lasting impacts on this program.
I think looking up to my former captains and teammates is a huge part of what made this feeling and experience so special. Also, knowing that my teammates voted for me, as their captain was a reminder of how important it was to be the best leader I could be for them, everyday at the rink.”
Reaching new heights in her junior season, Woods gained new career highs in both assist (23) and points (34), along with new bests in face-offs (335) and plus-minus rating (+40), respectively. Rewarded for her efforts with a spot on the All-ECAC Third Team, she also gained the prestige of being named a Quinnipiac Scholar Athlete.
In the aftermath of said season, which also saw Woods and the Bobcats compete in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history, it was announced during the team’s awards ceremony that Woods would be the team captain for the upcoming season. This mirrored the way in which her predecessor, Roesler, had the honor of the captaincy bestowed upon her.
While Woods definitely established herself as a respected leader through hard work on and off the ice, leaving her own amazing imprint on Bobcats hockey in 2016-17, there was a remarkable presence throughout. Last year’s captain, Roesler, remained with the team, working with the coaching staff, simultaneously extending her own legacy with the program.
Juggling duties with the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale, where she was joined by former Bobcats such as Kelly Babstock and Nicole Connery (also a member of the Class of 2016), Roesler remained dedicated to Bobcats hockey in her current capacity. As Woods reflects, the impact of Roesler was a positive influence, respecting her legacy, while acknowledging the value that she brought to the team,
“Yes, Cyd definitely was a positive influence on our season; she did so much for our program in her four years, and was always a true reflection of Quinnipiac Bobcat hockey. Because of her successes and leadership in this program, she is someone that we all have a great deal of respect for, and loved seeing on the ice.
Cyd has incredible knowledge of the game, and was able to help our players grow, but her ability to motivate individuals is what really stood out to me this season.
Many of us look up to Cyd as a player and a person, so it was great to have her remain a part of this team. She is a great role model, and coach and was definitely an important part in our season.”
Akin to fellow graduate Taryn Baumgardt, Woods has also experienced the prestige of gaining both All-ECAC Third Team and an ECAC All-Academic selection. These achievements represent significant substance for Woods, a pinnacle whose essence is defined by proud opportunities for success that extend beyond the ice.
“These achievements mean a lot to me, it’s a huge testament to our program and the culture they have created to help our players succeed both athletically and academically.
Our staff and coaches strive to create a culture that embodies the entire student-athlete experience. They provide all the resources to put us in the best possible position to succeed here at Quinnipiac, so I cannot thank them enough, and I give them all of the credit for my achievements.”
Although Woods experienced many emotions on senior night, the culmination of an exceptional career defined by success, there was a tinge of sadness knowing that it was a career approaching its twilight. Displaying an exceptional maturity, she recognized that although there would be an inevitable ending to such a memorable time, it was an evening where merriment was more important than any sense of loss.
The sense of realization for Woods and her fellow members of the Class of 2017, attaining unique heights and leaving their mark on program lore with a celebrated postseason crown the year prior, was most essential, helping to commemorate what made Bobcats hockey such an integral component to their careers. The focus on such treasured memories helped to dissolve any feelings of melancholy, replaced by jubilation and admiration.
“There were definitely a lot of emotions surrounding our senior night; it really put my four years into perspective. It was definitely a proud moment for my team and fellow seniors, seeing how far we’ve come since stepping onto campus as freshman.
However, there was definitely some sadness surrounding the day, knowing it could be our last home game at Quinnipiac, and our last time putting on the home jersey. There were so many memories made in that rink, and in the locker room, and knowing that could be our last wasn’t an easy feeling to accept, however, it was a happy feeling thinking how fortunate I was to have had this opportunity.”
Among the aspects that Woods shall miss about Bobcats hockey, perhaps the one that shall define the thrill of wearing the program’s gold and navy blue colors was actually part of daily ritual. The trajectory to the rink was a time where the focus shifted from academic obligations and other aspects of student life, rendering them inconsequential, as the residual warmth of the rink transported her into another realm that was exquisite yet electrifying.
The chance to be among her peers at such a beloved facility, gracing the frozen surface brought new relevance, a distinct magnitude that made clear why Woods treasured being a member of the Bobcats,
“The thing I will miss the most about playing for the Bobcats is walking into the rink everyday. It was always the best part of my day, whether it was for a game, a practice or even just a team meeting, it was a time to focus only on hockey and forget about everything else.
I have been a part of something bigger than myself for four years, and I don’t think anything can compare to that. My four years as a Bobcat have been unforgettable, and I will continue to cherish this program and the family it has given me for many years to come.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Quinnipiac Bobcats Athletics