Grindstone Award Foundation thrilled to welcome PWHL New York forward Emma Woods as official Help Her Play Ambassador

The Grindstone Award Foundation couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Emma Woods, a Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) forward who hails from Burford, Ont., and is a powerhouse up front for the league’s New York franchise in its inaugural season, as an official Ambassador for our national registered charity that aims to get and keep more girls in hockey.

Woods, 28, was first drafted professionally in 2016,14th overall in the fourth round, by the Buffalo Beauts of the former National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL). The following season, in 2017, she moved on to the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), where she was selected 49th overall in the seventh round by the Vanke Rays, which at the time was one of two new expansion teams based in China to help grow the game internationally. She remained with the team until it merged with China’s other CWHL franchise, the Kunlun Red Star, with the two teams becoming the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays for the 2018-19 and final CWHL season.

Following her time in the CWHL, Woods remained overseas to keep honing her professional skills, joining the Leksands IF of the Swedish Women’s Hockey League (SDHL) for the 2019-20 season, then making her way back home to Canada, where in June 2020 she joined NWHL expansion team the Toronto Six, coming back to her roots and becoming the seventh player to join the league’s only Canadian roster, wearing the alternate captain A on her jersey. 

Woods remained with the Six in the league that eventually became the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF), winning the championship trophy the Isobel Cup in 2023, just prior to the formation of the new PWHL, in which she was drafted 81st overall by New York. In her final PHF season, she was one of the league’s top scorers, notching 23 points in 24 regular season games before adding three points in four playoff matchups.
The right-shooting forward also played four seasons of NCAA Division 1 women’s hockey with the Quinnipiac Bobcats of the ECAC Hockey conference, being named to the All-Academic team as a sophomore, and earning both alternate captain honours and All-ECAC Third team accolades in her junior season. She had the C sewn on her jersey for her senior season, captaining the Bobcats by providing a positive example to her teammates both on and off the ice.

Woods has already made a lasting and impressive mark on collegiate, international and professional female hockey. She continues to do so with PWHL New York, where she is proving herself to be a true model for the many young girls who dream of playing hockey at the level she continues to excel at each and every day.

“Working alongside the Grindstone team means a great deal to me,” Woods said. “I have been extremely fortunate to grow up playing hockey.”
Although born in London, Ont., Woods grew up playing alongside the boys on the Burford Coyotes up until Bantam, often being the only girl on the team. She received the 2011 Phyllis Gretzky Memorial Award for female youth leadership from the Brantford Sports Council for setting such an excellent example for her teammates and other young girls who wanted to lace up their skates and pick up a stick.

“It has taken me all over the world, given me lifelong friends, and taught me valuable life lessons,” she said of the sport she loves. “It has also allowed me to chase my dreams, and give me a career. 
“To me, it’s important that I do all I can as a professional women’s hockey player to help give other young girls this same opportunity, regardless of the financial constraints they may face,” Wood said. “

As I look ahead, I just hope I can make a positive impact on at least one young girl, offering her the platform to explore her potential, pursue her passion and her dreams, and experience the joys of the best sport on earth.”

We certainly agree on it being the best sport, Emma! Grindstone is so grateful she has chosen us a charity worthy of her representation. 
“Emma sets an incredible example for girls and women of all ages,” Grindstone President Danielle Bell said. “We’re delighted and honoured that she has chosen to help us ‘help her play’ with the exceptional combination of grace, generosity, kindness, passion and strength she clearly demonstrates both on and off the ice, each and every day, in all tasks she takes on and goals she sets.” 

“Thank you for taking on Grindstone’s mission of assisting girls who want to play hockey but can’t due to financial barriers,” Bell added. “You are sure to make an incredible impact on not just our quickly growing organization, but also on the continued dynamic growth of female hockey across the country and around the world.”

Follow Woods on Instagram @emmawoodss and her professional career at

Thank you again, Emma, for becoming a Grindstone Award Foundation Ambassador.

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