County of Brant council members passed a resolution to investigate ways to recognize the accomplishments of Burford athlete Emma Woods during a council meeting on Tuesday, May 24.
Woods is currently playing hockey for the Toronto Six in the Professional Hockey Foundation (PHF). She has served as an alternate captain since joining the team in its inaugural season and was named to the PHF’s All Star game earlier this year.
Prior to joining the Toronto Six, Woods played four years of division one hockey at Quinnipiac University, where she also served as alternate captain in her third year before getting the captaincy in her final season. She spent two years playing in China and one in Sweden before returning home to the Six in their expansion year. Woods added her name to the league’s history books when she assisted on the Toronto Six’s first goal in franchise history.
Councillor Robert Chambers brought the resolution to the floor, seconded by ward mate David Miller, after receiving a request from a community member, Bill Olmstead.
The request asked that council add Woods’ name to the Welcome to Burford signs on either end of the community, in a similar way to Adam Henrique.
Henrique, also from Burford, has played over 700 games in the National Hockey League (NHL). In 2012, he scored the series clinching goal to send the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Final. During the playoffs, signs were added recognizing that Burford is the home of Adam Henrique.
“I think it is only fitting that we recognize Emma in a similar way to Adam,” Councillor Chambers said. “I’m not sure the protocols of this sign but the resolution looks at ways to give Emma similar recognition. I think it is important to celebrate these professional hockey players, especially those that grow up in rural areas. If Adam is on the sign, I agree that Emma should be there too.”
Council members discussed the matter, agreeing that they need to look at creating a policy that celebrates more successful individuals from the County of Brant.
“I do think a policy is needed,” Mayor David Bailey said. “There are going to be more hockey players, dancers, musicians, artists and all kinds of other people from different parts of the county that will be recognized in the future. We’re going to have to decide if we keep adding names to the board, hopefully we have enough talented people in the county that we won’t know where to put their signs.”
Councillors Steve Howes and Joan Gatward asked if inducting Woods into the Brant Sports Hall of Fame would be a fair way to commemorate her achievements, while councillor John Wheat proposed hanging a jersey and plaque in the Burford Arena alongside other successful, local athletes.
“We will definitely induct Emma when the time comes because she has done incredible things,” Councillor Chambers said. “The issue is the ‘home of’ sign, and we do need a policy in place. But please don’t take Adam’s down because I know there will be hell to pay.”
Before voting on the resolution, Councillor David Miller added why he believed it is important to recognize these athletes.
“These athletes just don’t appear out of nowhere,” he said. “They usually have a good solid background. The Woods family was a big part of the community of Burford, running the local ice cream shop for years. We definitely need to give this recognition.”
Councillors voted on the resolution, passing it unanimously. Staff will investigate adding Woods’ name to the sign and will look into creating a policy to recognize others accomplishments beyond the County of Brant.