Emily Clark, the star center of the Wisconsin Badgers, has helped her team make the Frozen Four the past three years. Since her freshman year Clark has made an impact for the Badgers, making the All-WCHA Rookie team. And in 39 games for the Badgers last season, Clark tallied a career high 46 points with 20 goals and 26 assists.
Clark is now hoping to make her first Olympic roster at the age of 21. After playing in the last three World Championships, she is looking to make the journey to Pyeongchang with Team Canada. Her playmaking skills and speed could prove to be invaluable for Hockey Canada in the winter. The country is going for its fifth consecutive Olympic gold and Clark has a chance to be a part of it.
Clark wasted no time becoming a difference maker for the Badgers. In her freshman season she scored 12 goals and 15 assists in 36 games, scoring her first NCAA tournament goal in her first quarterfinal game against Boston University.
During her rookie season at Wisconsin, Clark also attended her first event as a member of the senior Canadian national team at the 2014 Four Nations Cup. She also competed in the 2015 World Championship, scoring a goal and an assist en route to obtaining a silver medal.
Clark continued to show her dominance in her sophomore year. She led the Badgers with seven game-winning goals and five power play goals. After scoring a goal and an assist in the NCAA quarterfinals against Mercyhurst, Clark stepped up again when she tallied an assist in the 3-2 loss to Minnesota in the Frozen Four semifinals. She again picked up a silver medal in the 2016 World Championship, scoring one goal in five games for Canada.
Last year Clark helped lead the Badgers to the Frozen Four finals. She led all Wisconsin skaters with a +48 rating and had a career high seven-point weekend against Ohio State with six goals and one assist. Here is her goal against Robert Morris in the NCAA quarterfinals.
After coming off her best season at Wisconsin, she attended the 2017 World Championship. In Plymouth she scored two goals in five games, including one in Canada’s crucial 4-0 victory against Finland in the semifinals.
Goal! Emily Clark! The Finns took a chance to pull Raty while on the PP and Clark gets a short-handed empty-netter :)— Nicole Haase (@NicoleHaase) April 6, 2017
Right now Clark is focused on making the Olympic roster. She is the only player from Saskatchewan to make the centralization roster and hopes to follow in the footsteps of another great Saskatchewan born player, Hayley Wickenheisher. Wickenheisher is a near-impossible act to follow, but Clark has already proven herself as an elite forward against the best players in the world.
After the Olympics, Clark will return to Wisconsin for her senior year. There the focus will be on winning a National Championship. Last year the Badgers were the strong favorite to win, but were defeated by Clarkson in the finals. She already has 118 points in 111 games with the Badgers. In 2017-18 she will have a chance to crack 150 career points in the NCAA.
The future looks bright for Clark after her senior season with the Badgers. She has the skill level to compete in the CWHL or NWHL, but will almost certainly stay north of the border — almost all of Team Canada plays in the CWHL. Any CWHL team would be lucky to have her join the fold after this Olympic year.
Is this ranking too high or too low?
Clark is certainly one of the best young players in the world. At the age of 21, she has accomplished more than many players could hope to do in their lifetimes. But her accomplishments have been overshadowed by other big names at both the college and national level including Sarah Nurse and Cayley Mercer.
Clark has already proven herself to be an amazing forward in the NCAA and on the world stage and still has room to grow. After the 2018 Olympic Games, she could be much higher on our list of the best players under 25 in women’s hockey. Only time will tell.