First published on: https://www.nwhl.zone/news_article/show/944919
Finishing her inaugural season of NWHL hockey as the Connecticut Whale’s leading scorer, the first rookie in franchise history to do so, Emily Fluke has blossomed into a fan favorite. Among the highlights of her memorable season, pacing the Whale with 11 points, involved taking part in a ceremonial face-off versus the Boston Pride, one that saw her brother Rob, a member of the United States Coast Guard, participate.
For the alum of Middlebury College, where she gained All-America honors, Fluke’s sensational first season on NWHL ice was complemented by the rare milestone of her first career goal also emerging as the game-winning tally, part of a 2-1 win versus Boston. Undoubtedly, she was a key priority for the Whale at the opening of their free agent signing period this summer. Complementing her return to the Whale for a second season was a fascinating milestone, what she hopes sets the tone for another compelling campaign to come.
Testament to her rising popularity, which also saw Fluke rank seventh in the league in apparel sales, she was part of an event that saw basketball and hockey intersect in a unique setting. In addition to the Whale’s presence in Connecticut’s professional sporting landscape, they are joined by the WNBA’s Sun, both providing inspiration for a generation of young female athletes throughout the Nutmeg State.
Prior to the Sun’s August 14 tip off against the Las Vegas Aces, the franchise hosted a pre-game panel at the Mohegan Sun Arena as part of the WNBA’s #BeYou Empowerment Series. Geared to inspire and celebrate individuality, the Series has enjoyed panels at numerous WNBA venues during the 2018 regular season.
With Fluke on-hand at the Mohegan Sun’s event, graciously meeting WNBA fans, and enjoying the opportunity to hear the stories of the numerous panelists, it was the kind of event that fostered friendship and developed empathy, emphasizing how the effort to increase interest in women’s sports truly embodies the essence of teamwork.
“It was truly a privilege to attend the #BeYou event,” said Fluke. “The four panelists were excellent and their stories were incredibly inspiring. I really enjoyed attending the WNBA game, as well. There is so much talent in the WNBA and across all women’s sports that I believe it’s really important for women to support women’s sport and for the women’s leagues to support each other.”
Undeniably, Fluke’s presence saw her taking on a dual role. From the outset, she established herself as an ambassador for the NWHL while serving as an extension of a compelling program involving both leagues, among others.
Among the elements of a highly eventful off-season for the NWHL, highlighted by welcoming the iconic Minnesota Whitecaps into league play, the league’s leadership displayed an amazing sense of collaboration and unity. Resulting in the highly relevant SheIS initiative, Fluke’s chance to attend the #BeYou Empowerment event at the Mohegan Sun demonstrated some positive elements of this initiative.
Based on the concept of women looking to positively shape their own destiny in the sporting spectrum, looking to close the gap and continue to increase awareness of their quality product. Other leagues participating include the aforementioned WNBA, National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL), and the U.S. Tennis Association, along with the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL).
Although she was raised in Bourne, Massachusetts, Fluke starred at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut. Shining as a three-sport star where she was captain of the school’s ice hockey, field hockey and lacrosse teams, her presence at Mohegan Sun brought a feeling of full circle. Fluke’s rise to stardom truly embodies the potential of women in sport to not only reach peak potential, but gain the opportunity to extend their endeavors with professional play.
Reflecting on the opportunity to play a part in the #BeYou Empowerment Event, representing both the Whale and the burgeoning NWHL brand, simultaneously enjoying the opportunity to get acquainted with other members of Connecticut’s female sporting community, there was definitely a sense of a positive learning experience. In spite of her status as a scoring sensation with the Whale, Fluke definitely found her own inspiration, finding a very positive message that she hopes shall resonate among others,
“The event put out a great message to women of all ages to find something they truly love and not to let fear of failure stop them from pursuing their dreams,” she said. “This message really resonates with me as one of my favorite parts of being in the NWHL is being a positive role model and inspiring future generations of professional women’s hockey players.”