College hockey can take you many places. This has been the case for Keely and Kylee Emms-Finnsson of Arborg, who recently played in the ACHA Women's Division 2 Final in St. Louis. They are both members of the Assiniboine Community College (ACC) women's hockey team, the Cougars. Keely notes that hockey wasn't always the sport of choice for her.

"For myself, I've always had an interest in skating, and I actually grew up wanting to do power skating, but being from Arborg, hockey was the choice that I had to make. So, I grew up watching hockey with my dad, the basic Canadian story. Growing up, watching hockey with my dad on Saturday nights, going to the ODR (outdoor rink) and learning how to skate and playing with all my friends in boys hockey growing up. Then I moved to girls' hockey in Grade 8 probably."

Kylee, the younger sister, shared the differences in her story from her sister's.

"I kind of followed along in Keely's footsteps. Hockey wasn't my first choice, I wanted to be a dancer or a soccer player. But a camp came along, and we got free equipment from it, so my mom said, 'I don't care if you don't want to do it, you're doing it. It's free equipment.' Then I ended up loving it, and started playing with our hometown team, the Arborg Falcons with all my friends. Then I moved to girls' hockey in Grade 6 and played for the Stonewall Blues."

Kylee Emms-Finnsson surveys the ice (Photo credit: Assiniboine Community College/Cougars Athletics Department)Kylee Emms-Finnsson surveys the ice (Photo credit: Assiniboine Community College/Cougars Athletics Department)

The sisters talked about growing up playing, both together and against each other. 

Kylee started the thought, noting, "I was the goalie for a little bit, and then I got hurt playing in a hockey camp, and I thought, 'Nope, I'm not doing this anymore.' So, I decided to play defence, and basically, it was just that Keely had someone to defend against her and work on her skills, and I got to work on my skills too." 

Keely added, "We're always pushing each other, I think. There's a little friendly competition between us to see who can do better. I think that really drove us growing up, me being a forward and her being defence, just getting that competitive edge against each other, it made us always want to do better."

Keely Emms-Finnsson handles the puck (Photo credit: Assiniboine Community College/Cougars Athletics Department)Keely Emms-Finnsson handles the puck (Photo credit: Assiniboine Community College/Cougars Athletics Department)

The drive to improve took both sisters to ACC in Brandon, where they wrapped up their run at the ACHA Division 2 Women's National Championship. Both sisters shared their excitement at playing on the national stage.

Keely started by saying, "We go on a lot of bus trips as a team, we travel a lot because there are only two Canadian teams in the league. So, we do a lot of travelling through the States, and getting to come down farther into the States and getting to be in St. Louis has been amazing. Just seeing all the sights, we went to the Arch, the Union Station, there's an aquarium there and the zoo, it was really fun making memories with teammates, let alone my sister, has been an amazing experience."

Kylee shared the same sentiment, adding, "I'd have to say the same. It's just been so fun so far. The hockey's been fun, the compete level is way up. We're all here as a team, playing as a team, and we're doing our best, but it's been really fun."

Keely had this to say when asked about their advice to those considering playing hockey.

"Just do it. Honestly, it's worth a shot if you want to get into it. Who knows? You might hate it, you might love it, and if you love it, it's going to be an amazing experience. You're going to make life-long friends. I know, I've met some of my best friends not only being here at college, but growing up and playing hockey. Boys' hockey, girls' hockey, whatever you decide to do, it's going to be a good choice."

Kylee added, "The whole experience is amazing. The people you meet, the game you play, it's just great."