Emma in action with the Orange of Syracuse!

EMMA POLASKI: FOREVER ORANGE


When we spoke with our Amazing rookie forward Emma Polaski from Syracuse, we started things off by mentioning an oddity we had just noticed. All four of the players the Whale drafted in 2021 had the first same names as players on the Pod last season: Grace, Hanna(h) Taylor, and of course Emma. She responded “I know, I saw that! I guess we’re going to have to have some nicknames"she chuckled. "I know the other Emma (#15 Emma Vlasic), her nickname is Pickles or something. So I guess I’m OK. I don’t have a nickname, usually it’s just Em or Emma.” So at least her portion of the Whale “name game” resolved pretty smoothly!

Emma was the Whale’s second Draft Pick on that exciting evening of June 29th, and we asked her to tell us a little bit about how she spent Draft Night. And it turns our, she had a pretty unique experience. She revealed “So I was at home with my family and my two best friends, Brooke Avery and Allie Olnowich of the Riveters. We went to college together as well, the and they live in New Jersey near me, so we all were just hanging out, watching the Draft. So that’s what I was doing that night, it was super exciting. I was talking to Coach Colten before, so I kind of had an idea I was going to go to Connecticut.” Pretty cool Draft night party!

Forever Orange is a state of mind, not a statement about playing eternally at Tennity Ice Pavilion. So we wondered when it was Emma began thinking about hockey life after Syracuse. She told us  “Honestly, I wasn’t, until Coach Laura (Brennan) called me out of the blue. And I was like: OMG, maybe this is something I want to do! I was contemplating doing a fifth year at Syracuse, but I just wasn’t sure what I was going to do. A bunch of my friends play on the Riveters, and the Toronto Six. So I was  always interested in it, but I hadn’t really actively done anything, or reached out to anybody. But once the coaches started talking to me I was like: Oh yeah, it seems like a great option for post college if I don’t go back. So it’s what I ended up doing, and I’m super excited about it.”

 

Emma hails from Morristown, NJ, and is the latest Jersey Girl to join the Pod. She is preceeded by players such as Hanna Beattie, Kayla Meneghin and Alexa Aramburu, and that isn't their only commonality as you’ll see. When we asked Emma how her career got started she explained  “So, my Dad played college hockey at Princeton (100+ point career scorer), and he got me into it. And from the time I was U12 until I was U19, I played for the New Jersey Colonials, that was great. The Whale goalie Abbie Ives, I played with her on the Colonials for a bunch of years. We’re really good buddies.” The NJ Colonials also produced the three players we just mentioned Alexa, Kayla, and Hanna, but they were not on the same team as Emma. She added “I never played with Hanna Beattie there, but I’d heard of her and knew who she was.” 

Emma continued “I played at Morristown-Beard my freshman year and we did win the Girl’s State Championship." True enough, but what Emma didn't mention was she also made Second Team All-State that year, as a freshman. “Maybe” she laughed, "that was a long time ago, but that’s pretty cool. She continued "And then I went to Lawrenceville prep school, and played there my sophomore through senior seasons. Nicole Stock (whale Season One & Two goaltender) came to Lawrenceville the year after I left for college.”

After enjoying a championship season as a freshman, we wondered what factored into her decision to switch prep schools. Emma explained  “Education is really important to me, and Lawrenceville is one of the top ranked schools in academics, and Inreally wanted to go there for that aspect. And then a lot of the New Jersey girls who played for the Colonials, Titans and Rockets were going to Lawrenceville so it just seemed like a great idea. Nicole Uliasz recruited me and it seemed like a good fit, and I wanted the boarding school experience, so I made that decision to switch.”

Now at that point in her career, there was another sport Emma excelled in, and that was field hockey. She told us “I loved field hockey! I started playing in 8th grade at Morristown-Beard, and I played there my freshman year. We actually won a State Championship that year. Then when I went  to Lawrenceville, we just won a ton of championships. I want to say like four or five. Then I was a Captain my senior year. It was the most fun! It was just a stress free sport for me, because I wasn’t going to college for it. It was just a lot of fun, and I loved playing it.”

 

Although she's playing for the Big Red of Lawrenceville in this photo, the field hockey ball wasn't the only orange in front of her!

So as her prep career drew to a close we wondered how she came to chose Syracuse to continue her education and playing career. Emma told us

“After going to prep school, I just knew that I wanted a big sports school, with a great atmosphere. I’ve never heard a bad thing about Syracuse from anybody’s who has gone there. It was just a place I wanted to be. And my friend Allie Olnowich who played with me at Lawrenceville and was a year before me, went to Syracuse, and only had good things to say about it. And when I visited, I just loved the campus and the coaches, and the culture of the hockey team, and it kind of just sold me on that”

At Syracuse, Emma was a teammate of current Whale defender Allie Munroe for two years. Emma compiled 62 points for the Orange, split evenly between goals and assists. She won honors for both her work on the ice and in the classroom. So we asked about both,.starting with her favorite moment on the ice. With no hesitation she replied

“Hands down my sophomore season, winning the CHA Championship. It was the first one in program history, so it was just amazing to be part of that. It was everything you could dream, and more.” 

Back in May, Emma penned a heartfelt shoutout to her teammates, coaches and staff which we have included. So we wondered what some of the things we're that made her Syracuse experience so special, and why she’ll be “Forever Orange” she revealed

There’s so many good times! But my teammates were the ones that made it so fun, give all the credit to them. Just my memories of going to all the football games, and basketball games and just hanging out with my friends. I just have countless memories of those. But I would say going to the sports games together was always fun.”

 

Emma majored in Economics, and we asked her about that as well, and she told us

“I wasn’t exactly sure what Inwanted to do post college. I knew it was going to be something in business, but I really wasn’t sure. So I felt like doing something General like Economics would give me a good base to have all the options open when I figured it out, I'd 'have that knowledge.“ It seemed to us that Emma had a bit of a MSsachusetts connection, so we wondered how New Jersey to Syracuse, New York to the Bay State developed. She explained"My Dad’s entire family is from Boston so that’s kind of my connection.,Last summer I lived in Duxbury with my uncle and did my internship there. And then now I’m living outside the Boston area for a different sales company, ServiceNow. It’s a software company, they sell different types of workflows, like IT, Employee, Curtomer Sevice.”

Besides her scoring, something else that stands out on Emma’s stat sheet is that she is no stranger to the penalty box. And she included that in her description of her style of play, saying “My game is definitely top of the circles, down low in the offensive zone. Definitely a very physical,player, as the penalty minutes show" she laughed "But I really improved controlling my body, So just low, in tight, in the slot. I love shooting the puck, screening the goalie. I always say: If the goalie doesn’t like me, I’m doing my job. I just love trying to score and helping my teammates score. That’s the kind of player I am in the offensive zone.”

A player with a plan, size and a physical side to her game, has to make Coaches Orr and Brennan smile. As we wrapped things up,with Emma, we asked about how her post season training was going and she told us

“It’s going really well! As I mentioned before, I live near Brooke and Alli, ans Allie has a home gym, so we work out there. And we do a bunch of skates with a couple of our other friends in the area. So it looks pretty similar to what I’ve done in the past.”


We thank our Amazing rookie forward Emma for sharing some of her story with the fans. Emma officially signed with the Pod for Season Seven on July 20th, so though she surely will be “Forever Orange”, the fans will love seeing her for years to come in Whale Green. Blue & White. Fins Up to that!

Emma (right) with Whale goalie Abbie Ives when they were teammates with the New Jersey Colonials