When 17-year-old Emily Seal told me that she had been an aggressive hockey player, I truly wanted to say “hogwash” (not the actual word I wanted to use, but this is a family publication). Seal is an utterly sweet and intelligent young woman with an infectious laugh and a huge smile.
But once I dug a little deeper, I came to the realization that Seal is no shrinking violet. She has worked hard throughout her high school career and her résumé is beyond impressive.
Seal is this year’s recipient of the Ian Shaw Memorial scholarship. The scholarship is named in memory of Shaw, who, in his 25+ years volunteering with the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association (TLGHA), served as head coach, assistant coach, trainer, and manager for several teams, as well as tournament director and referee-in-chief. The award recognizes a graduating member of the TLGHA who has distinguished herself through her commitment as a player, an official, and a member of her community. For over a decade, Ian trained and mentored hundreds of Wildcats who wished to be a part of the game as members of the officiating crew.
Seal has played every level as a Leaside Wildcat for the past 11 years, refereed for the past three years, worked as a timekeeper for the league, and volunteered in practice sessions with her younger sister Laura’s Wildcat team. In other words, she’s been busy!
At Northern Secondary, Seal has worked diligently and will be attending Western University in the fall to study political science and international relations. Seal’s extra-curricular activities have included her work as the president of the Champions of Change club, an executive member of the Social Justice Committee and the Girls’ Athletic Association, a senator on the student council, and captain of the school hockey team. She also plays house league softball with friends she made through hockey.
“Hockey,” notes Seal, “has been where I have found my confidence, my resilience, and my personal strength, and these traits, learned on the ice as a player and an official, will be what I rely on to be successful off the ice both at university and on into my future.”
In terms of her on-ice experience, Seal’s coach, Matthew Brandt, indicates that, “Emily set the pace in terms of work ethic and perseverance, and hustled like no other player I have ever coached.”
Seal is humbled to be receiving this award, which is especially meaningful for her as she is probably the last person obtaining the scholarship who will ever have worked with Ian Shaw, a man she remembers with much fondness.
Western University has gained a confident, mature, and intelligent leader who is more than deserving of the scholarship with which she has been bestowed.