CAMBRIDGE – The text message exchange took place six years ago, with two young friends and teammates exchanging about their hockey hopes and dreams.
Emerie Maltby and Claire Robinson have almost all achieved them.
“I remember texting her and I was like, ‘Claire, we’re going to play on the same team all of our lives, we’re going to play on the Rivs (Cambridge Rivulettes) together, we’re going to get a scholarship to the same university and then we’re going to play the Olympics together, âsaid Maltby.
“It was our life plan, and now look at this, most of it has happened.”
Indeed, he has.
Maltby and Robinson, both 17, are in their second season with the Rivulettes, Cambridge’s entry into the Provincial Women’s Hockey League, and next year they will continue their varsity and hockey careers at the ‘Wilfrid Laurier University. The two got scholarships to play U Sports hockey in 2022, with Robinson signing first and Maltby soon after.
Playing for Laurier, the Grade 12 students – Maltby attends St. Benedict Catholic High School, Robinson attends Galt Collegiate – will continue the streak of playing together on the same team since 2011, when they were unlikely teammates of the newbie to the Cambridge Roadrunners (U7) travel team.
Unlikely because none of the girls can figure out how they made this team.
Neither do their biggest supporters.
âCambridge coaching legend Frank D’Arcy saw something in all of them this first year and chose them for his team,â said Steve Robinson, Claire’s father.
âHands down, the two worst players on the first-year rookie travel team, even in the eyes of their parents. “
D’Arcy put Maltby and Robinson on a line with the team’s best player this first season and the two were basically in the game as Maya D’Arcy, the granddaughter of the Rivulettes coach and current teammate , sneaked through opponents while his teammates did their best to stay out of his way.
Friendly, funny girls remember it like it was yesterday.
âWhen we tried for our first team, the travel team, we were the worst players on the ice, and everyone knew that. Somehow we ended up being part of the team; we weren’t expecting it, our parents weren’t expecting it, but that’s how we became friends, âsaid Robinson.
“I think we ended up online with Maya because she was so good and we were so bad.”
Being online together, Maltby added, is why the girls started talking.
“I think I asked her about where I should be on the ice, and I asked her because she was the only player on the team I could follow with,” he said. she declared.
“It’s true; we weren’t very good.
The Maltby and Robinson families became friends outside of hockey, and their daughters’ friendship grew as their skills improved and they rose through the hockey ranks together. The girls were coached by Maltby’s dad, Shawn Maltby, from their sophomore year from novice to midget, and are now under the direction of longtime Rivulettes head coach Geoff Haddaway.
They were provincial silver medalists in cockerel minor and gold medalist in cockerel major, a feat the two girls placed at the top or almost of their fondest memories on the ice. Making the Rivulettes together is also there.
Robinson went from attacking to defending along the way – “because I wasn’t very good at attacking,” she laughed – while Maltby stayed put.
Traveling to Detroit for summer hockey camps run by Maltby Shawn’s dad and former NHL player Kirk Maltby, her uncle, also provided memories the girls hold dear.
âWe spent a week living together, which is funny now because we’re going to be living together next year at Laurier,â said Robinson.
âClaire always makes jokes about it, that she won’t go unless we live together,â Maltby said. âSo it’s set in stone. “
The girls cite the Robinson family’s cabin getaways as their favorite memories outside of hockey, and talk about an incident when they went out together on a misguided off-road motorcycle tour.
The driver, Robinson, and the passenger, Maltby, share different versions of the same event.
âShe threw me out and the whole left side of my body was scratched,â Maltby said. “I went back to the cabin because I didn’t want to get back with her, and she really got in trouble for it.”
A slightly different version is offered by Robinson.
“She’s still talking about it, but she’s definitely fallen,” she said. “She’s right that I’m in trouble though.”
Robinson and Maltby say they chose Laurier because of his proximity to home, because Golden Hawks head coach Kelly Paton and assistant coach Nik Knezic made them feel wanted, and because they know and love several players from the current roster.
Maltby applied to study biology at Laurier, Robinson for psychology, communication studies, and kinesiology.
Her current Cambridge teammates Rylee Crego, who has been playing with the girls from the bantam, and goalkeeper Kayla Renaud are also committed to Laurier.