Emily Hawco recently returned home from the biggest hockey tournament of her young life, and she came back more than happy with the experience.
The 16-year-old from Chapel’s Cove, Conception Bay, played right wing for the Team Newfoundland and Labrador women’s hockey squad at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta.
A product of the CBR Minor Hockey Association, Hawco has played the sport for about eight years. She made the provincial team last year and earned a roster spot for the Canada Games group after putting in a strong performance at a summer camp in August.
“It was exciting,” Hawco said of the moment she learned she’d made the team.
This season, Hawco is a key contributor to the Eastern Ice Breakers’ success playing in the provincial AAA midget female league. Her team is first overall heading into provincials, scheduled to be played this weekend. In regular season scoring, she was fourth overall and third on her team with 19 points in 15 games.
“I think that I’m a solid player that is good both offensively and defensively,” Hawco said when asked to describe her game.
Team NL was buoyed by the presence of Shailynn Snow, the Clarke’s Beach native who recently helped Team Canada win gold at the women’s world juniors in Japan.
At the games in Red Deer, Team NL collected a win and two losses in the preliminary round, and won one more game in the placement round before losing a squeaker in the ninth-place game 4-3 in overtime to Prince Edward Island.
Hawco, who was joined in Red Deer by her father Glen and mother Bethanne, collected a goal and an assist at the games. The calibre of hockey was higher than she’s used to playing in her home province.
“It was really cool just knowing you were on Team Newfoundland and you’re one of the top hockey players in your province and you’re representing your province with your friends that you’ve played hockey with for years. It’s a pretty cool experience.”
Hawco already knew a lot of the players on her team through hockey camps and other events, but enjoyed getting to know the girls she had spent less time with prior to the games. In Alberta, there were lots of fun social opportunities to meet athletes from across Canada, including concerts and karaoke. She also managed to attend the closing ceremonies.
“That was incredible, being around all the other top athletes from other provinces.”
Beyond this season, Hawco has another year left of eligibility to play for the Eastern Ice Breakers, but the Grade 11 student from Roncalli Central High in Avondale isn’t sure where the sport will take her after that.