Sports feature

Emerance Maschmeyer’s Road to Excellence

For PWHL Ottawa starting goalie Emerance Maschmeyer, these past couple of years have been a whirlwind of blessings and achievements.

In 2022, Maschmeyer made her Winter Olympic debut in Beijing, where she helped Team Canada win the gold medal. In 2023, she married her best friend in a beautiful ceremony on her family farm in Bruderheim, Alberta. And in 2024, Maschmeyer made her Ottawa PWHL debut as one of the three marquee free-agent players the club was allowed to sign before the draft.

For all of her achievements (too many to list here), Bruderheim named a street after her on Canada Day, befitting a Canadian hockey hero.

“It is such an honour to have a street named after me in my hometown,” Maschmeyer said. “My hope is that when Bruderheim’s youth see the street sign they’re reminded that they can achieve anything that they put their minds to.”

“Emerance Way” is now the name of the street in front of the Karol Maschmeyer Arena. Karol was Emerance’s grandmother who was memorialized for her tireless decades of community work as one of the founders of Bruderheim’s agricultural society.

Emerance’s story reads like one you might see on Hockey Day in Canada. She grew up on a third-generation grain farm outside of Bruderheim, where her father, Arlan, built an outdoor rink for his five kids.

“All four of my siblings played hockey at high-performing levels so they understand the beautiful challenges and opportunities that being a professional athlete brings,” Maschmeyer said. “I am a product of each individual in my family and much of my success has come to fruition because of their support and motivation.”

While Maschmeyer has become one of the very best goalies in the world, her first love was playing forward.

“I started playing hockey when I was 3 years old, and I absolutely loved to score goals,” Maschmeyer said. “One day in Novice hockey, it was my turn to go in net, and I had a really fun time stopping pucks. I went home and told my parents how much I loved it. So I got goalie gear for Christmas that year and began playing both goalie and player for a couple of seasons. At age 10, I officially switched to goalie because I loved making the big saves and wearing the really cool goalie gear. I love being goalie but there’s still a small part of me that is a forward at heart!”

Clearly, Maschmeyer’s goaltending accomplishments indicate she made the right decision. 

After starring at Harvard University, setting the school’s all-time saves record, she played in the CWHL with Calgary and Montreal and then the PWHPA. But a pro league like the PWHL is something she couldn’t envision ten years ago.

“Ten years ago, I dreamed about playing with Team Canada and representing Canada at the World Championships and the Olympics, but I didn’t really envision a viable professional league as it was so far out of reach at the time,” Maschmeyer said. “I believe that when the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folded in 2019, it was the first time that many of us started envisioning and dreaming – we were determined to form a professional hockey league that would provide us with salaries, resources, visibility, coverage, and long-term investment.”

What’s been your PWHL Ottawa highlight so far?

Our home opening game against Montreal in front of a sold-out home crowd is my highlight of the PWHL so far. There was so much energy and emotion projected from the crowd, and the arena was filled with cheering for the entire 60-plus minutes. It was the moment that we felt that we had finally arrived.

Speaking of meaningful moments, you got married last summer. What can you tell us about the big day, and what memories stand out most?

Our wedding was such a beautiful and special day for us. We felt nothing but gratitude and love on our big day. One of my favourite moments was finally marrying my best friend after 8 years of dating and doing it on my family farm in front of all our closest family and friends. I must admit, we are suckers for a dance floor, and so we really enjoyed our night dancing and having a fun time with each other and our guests. 

Your wife Geneviève has retired now but was also an elite goalie. Was it challenging when you were both competing for jobs?

She was such an amazing goalie. We have so many amazing memories of competing and supporting one another on the ice. We were in a unique situation where we often were competing for spots on teams and for ice time. But the way that we always approached it was if we both did everything we could individually to put ourselves in the best position to make teams and play, then the decisions were out of our hands. It was up to the coaches and GMs. After the news, we would be able to support each other as needed. 

The experiences we had together through hockey far outweighed the challenges and adversity we faced. We are grateful for all the travel, opportunities, and memories we have shared together on our journeys playing together for Team Canada, the CWHL, and the PWHPA.

How are you enjoying the city of Ottawa so far?

Ottawa is a wonderful city. It is a city with a small community feel. And coming from a small town in Alberta, I have a big appreciation for that.

What’s your message for Ottawa’s strong PWHL fan base?

To our fans, you have all been so amazing! Thank you so much for all of the support. We feel the love every single day. You truly are a 7th player for us on the ice. We truly believe that we have the loudest, most supportive fans, and we really appreciate you!

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