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International Women's Day

Q&A with Emma Maltais

Mediaplanet sat down with professional athlete and Olympian Emma Maltais to discuss her journey in sport and how she’s empowering Canada’s next generation of athletes!

How do you believe women are currently paving the way in sports, and what role does female leadership play in this evolution?

In so many ways. I think that the growing involvement that women have in sports- from broadcasting to commentating to coaching to health therapists to athletes – is growing at such a rapid pace. Once women continue to see the possibilities, the more they can aspire to become one of thesethings. This leadership is super impactful but it is also impactful to understand that these women that are paving the way in what has been a male dominant field. These women are new in these environments and have to have many discussions and conversations to ensure that they are valued evenly amongst their peers.

Can you share a defining moment in your career that you believe showcases the impact women can have in sports?

I think in my career in particular was the experience I had with going to the Olympics and then also my involvement with the PWHL. At the Olympics, when the professional men were not able to compete in the Olympics, it almost felt in the hockey world that all the attention was on us. The expectation and attention we got when we were able to win gold in Beijing is an example of how on the main sport stage of the Olympics, women can be at the centre. With the PWHL I also have felt that dramatically. The amount of attention we are getting once, the broadcasting and the marketing evened out is exceptional. It shows that once the resources were evened out, that the attention was delivered the way we always thought it would be. To see the young girls with signs and the older women who are so invested in our league shows how much the impact matters and how inspiring it can be. 

In your experience, how can sports contribute to empowering young girls and fostering a sense of leadership?

I think the way that young girls are inspired are in a lot of different ways that we don’t realize. For example, after the Scotiabank arena game a young girl came up to me and told me that I inspired her because of my size and how I still play with strength because she struggles with how small she is. Something so simple can inspire young girls to simply just not quit and to keep going. At the end of the day, I think this is the biggest things. If young girls can continue to see the possibilities of what they can be and what avenues they can take to get there, maybe less quit at a young age, maybe more resources.

What advice do you have for young Canadian girls aspiring to excel in sports and possibly pursue a career in athletics?

My biggest piece of advice would be to continue to have fun and enjoy what you do. With these new opportunities there can be even more pressure to perform but the more you can enjoy what you do, the more than you will be grateful for where you are and ultimately the better you will do. I think the more you are able to have fun putting in the effort to your dreams, the more the effort will turn into your craft which will uniquely propel you forward. 

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