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Ohio State senior forward Emma Maltais was one of 28 players that has been named to centralize with Canada’s national team, all of which are there in an effort to make the Olympic roster.
The move means that Maltais will not be on the Buckeyes’ roster for the 2021-22 season, and she will instead be using her extra year of eligibility for the 2022-23 campaign.
“I’m so honored and excited,” Maltais said in a press release. “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.”
Maltais is one of the most prolific scorers in the history of Ohio State’s program. She has been a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award in both her junior and senior seasons, an honor that goes to the top player in college hockey, as well as a two-time USCHO All-American. She finished with 16 points, including a team-high 11 assists, last year and has 158 career points at the collegiate level, the most of any player actively in the WCHA.
The 158 total points, is also fourth in program history, with her 103 assists just 21 away from Laura McIntosh’s program record set in 2012.
The Burlington, Ontario native “will relocate to Calgary at the end of July for centralization and prepare for the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship,” according to the release. It will take place from Aug. 20-31 at a yet-to-be-determined location, and from there, Olympic training will resume.
“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 statement said. “The full centralization schedule will be announced at a later date.”
While Ohio State will be losing its star player next year from a team that made it to the Frozen Four in 2020-21, the Buckeyes will have her for the following season, and head coach Nadine Muzerall said in the statement that she is happy to see Maltais pursue national aspirations.
“We’re excited for Emma to join such an elite and competitive program,” Muzerall said. “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. And she’ll run through a wall for you, which makes her someone that makes any team she’s on instantly better.”
Maltais is one of four players on the 28-player roster to be playing collegiately, and one of two from the WCHA. The others are defenseman Ashton Bell (Minnesota-Duluth, WCHA), forward Sarah Fillier (Princeton, ECAC) and forward Julia Gosling (St. Lawrence, ECAC). She is also joining Natalie Spooner, a former Buckeye, who won a gold in 2014 and a silver in 2018.