Who is Emily Pfalzer?
A night in Rochester watching the U.S. women’s national team play ahead of the 2002 Olympics inspired a young Emily Pfalzer to one day make it to the Olympics herself.
At her childhood home in just north of Buffalo, NY, smack in the middle of Lake Erie’s infamous snowbelt, Pfalzer spent hours playing hockey on a rink her dad built each winter in the backyard, facing off against her two older brothers. She took her first steps in skates around the age of two and by four she was flying around the ice with stick in hand.
Pfalzer has won gold with the U.S. Women’s National Team in the past three IIHF World Championships, beating their rivals from Canada in each tournament.
In her second season playing in the National Women's Hockey League, Pfalzer, along with her Buffalo Beauts teammates won the league title by upsetting the Boston Pride, a team stacked with seven U.S. national team members including Hilary Knight, Meghan Duggan and Brianna Decker.
Records and awards
Pfalzer became the first Boston College women’s hockey defender to score at least 100 points over the course of their career with the Golden Eagles. She finished with 102 – 23 goals, 79 assists. Those 79 assists are also a career record for a defender at BC.
After her senior season, Pfalzer's contributions were recognized when she was named a Top-10 Finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the top Division I women’s hockey player in the country.
If the ice is open, Pfalzer will not balk at the chance to jump into an offensive play. In Team USA’s 2017 Four Nations Cup opener against Finland, Pfalzer posted a hat trick, and added an assist in an 8-2 blowout on her way to being named the U.S. Player of the Game.
She may not be a physically imposing defender, listed at just 5'2", but Pfalzer is known for utilizing her keen hockey sense on the ice, relentlessly contending the opposing offense's attack. At the 2017 World Championships, Pfalzer was part of a defensive unit which allowed fewer than 100 shots (94 to be exact) on U.S. goalies over five games. Compare that to an average 155 shots faced by goalies of the seven other nations at Worlds.
Outside the rink
While at Boston College, Pfalzer met her boyfriend, Michael Matheson and the couple share something in common – they’re both professional hockey players. Picked in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft, Matheson played three seasons at BC before making the jump to the pros, where he is now in his third season with the Florida Panthers. Another footnote on Matheson, he’s Canadian, but somehow they make it work.