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Q & A with Emma Woods of the Toronto Six

Emma Woods tells us why she returned to the Six and the PHF for a third season, and what it’s been like to play alongside Brittany Howard.

Emma Woods of the Toronto Six tries to score on Riveters goalie Rachel McQuigge. @mdphotoandink/PHF

Now in her third season in the PHF and with the Toronto Six, Emma Woods has been one of the most consistent and balanced players in the league and Toronto’s team history. As of today (Jan. 13, 2023) Woods has posted 36 points (16g-20a) over 36 games with the Six. Last season - 18 points (9g-9a) in 20 games. This season - 14 points (7g-7a) in 12 games, and she’s currently tied for third in the league in points.

She plays in all situations, and her name is littered throughout the league leaders in nearly every category. The 27-year-old forward was drafted by the Buffalo Beauts after a stellar career at Quinnipiac University, but instead opted to play in the CWHL (two seasons) and the SDHL (one season) before joining the NWHL/PHF as a part of the inaugural Toronto Six roster/team.

They are off this weekend, but following Toronto’s visit to New Jersey for the Riveters' home opener, I spoke with Woods, who has been an alternate captain for the Six for all three seasons, for TIG, and here’s how it went!

The Ice Garden: You’re back for a third season with the Six, what led you to return for another season?

Emma Woods: I still have a love for the game, if I didn’t have that I wouldn’t keep playing. I also have a lot of pride for the Toronto Six. I’ve been here since the first year and there are things that we want to accomplish with this organization. As long as I want to keep playing hockey I’m going to stay here until we can accomplish those. I think we built a pretty good team this year and each season we are building off of the last. I’m excited to see what we can do this year.

Michelle Jay

TIG: Practicing against the two goaltenders (Elaine Chuli, and Carly Jackson) you have helps to make you better players, right?

EW: Definitely. Even just adding better players to the team, our compete level in practice just goes up. We have a really deep team, we have a lot of fun, and it's a good group of girls. Obviously having good goalies makes you work harder in practice to score those goals. We learn a lot from our goalies and our teammates, as well.

TIG: A big addition to the Six for this season was Brittany Howard. She’s obviously shown us what she can do through the early part of the season, but what are your impressions and how much did you know about her game?

EW: I knew Britt a little bit, and have played against her. She’s a helluva player; a shooter, and a goal scorer. Obviously, I like playing on her line right now and in practice, she gives 100% and is a leader on this team. She has a lot of passion and intensity and is going to make all of us better.

TIG: Your pass to her against the Riveters…wow.

EW: Yeah, that’s totally her kind of thing. She can explode from a stopped position, and I figured if I got her that puck she’d probably finish…it worked out, haha.

TIG: What was the experience like playing in a mall?

EW: Definitely a lot of factors involved and things you have to adjust to. It was hot, and that kind of gets you in the game a little bit. A lot of distractions, but at the end of the day we have to focus on what is going on on the ice. I think when you’re in the game you don’t even notice that you’re playing in a mall.

Toronto Six Vs. Boston Pride At Warrior Ice Arena Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

TIG: You mentioned you knew the style the Rivs were going to play, even though it’s a mostly new team. Do they still play the same style?

EW: They’re always a gritty team. Little stuff behind the play, it is what it is, and (for me) it's fun to play those games. But that is definitely their type of game.