The thing about sport celebrities, or athletes in general is that once you strip them of the helmet, the number, or the handily labeled jersey - they can be hard to recognize, at least to someone as non-sportsy as myself. This is why before meeting Emily Clark in person I decided to do a quick Google image search. There she was on my phone – big smile beaming from Pyeongchang with a silver medal hung around her neck, and then moments later, that same beaming smile is in front of me in the doorway of Citizen Café where we had agreed to meet.
“I wasn’t sure I who I was meeting, so my plan was just to smile at everyone till they smiled back!” she says as she settles in. It seemed a risky plan, given that I doubt many would be able to resist returning a smile a fraction as luminescent as her mega-watt grin. But this effervescence is why her sport, and indeed her city should consider themselves lucky – we have a great ambassador on our hands.
Clark began her hockey career as a child – a “total rink rat” that followed her big brothers onto the ice as soon as she could walk. She comes by hockey naturally, her father is the manager at the Jemini Arena, so it was either wander around the rink or strap on a pair of skates. She chose the latter and the rest is history. Olympic history.
Emily and her family at the Jemini Arena
Emily (22) is spending what she describes as the longest stretch of uninterrupted time in her hometown that she can remember. After years spent away in either Calgary (prepping for the Olympics with Team Canada) or at the University of Wisconsin, she is exploring her home city and revisiting old favourite spots.
Where to Eat?
Emily is a self-described brunch addict and enjoys hitting up Sami's Sunrise Grill – which she has just enjoyed with her mother before meeting me. Other favorite brunch spots include Poached where she cannot recommend the peanut butter hot chocolate highly enough.
What to Buy?
While on the road with her team Emily admits she was teased a little for the amount of city pride she displayed. It was not uncommon, she says, for her to be decked out in ensembles made up entirely of Hardpressed or Prairie Proud gear. When she has the opportunity to shop in Saskatoon she hits up those spots as well as Backside Boardshop and Momentum for more clothing and apparel.
What on her check list?
The day I met up with Emily she was meeting a friend and probably heading to Wilson’s Lifestyle Centre for some indoor go-karting. Next on her list was a visit to the Remai Modern and she has developed quite an extensive list of restaurants she wants to try.
If one of her teammates came to town – where would she take them?
Planning for an out of town visitor can be stressful – but being the only Saskatchewan resident on the team means that extolling the merits of her home city rests solely on Emily’s shoulders. Ideally she’d start with a walk along the Meewasin trails or paddleboard on the South Saskatchewan River and take in one of our many festivals. Emily’s favourite is the Taste of Saskatchewan where it’s possible grab a bite to eat from dozens of vendors.
How does she keep busy?
While she is still basking in the silver glow of her Olympic story, Emily admits she hasn’t strapped on a pair of skates or running shoes over the past couple of weeks but she says her family, a tight knit bunch (she is the youngest of 6) keeps her busy. She is more likely to be cheering on the Rush at one of their intense games but that doesn’t mean she is resting on her laurels. After all 2022, is less than 4 years away.