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Lakers dedicate season to teammate with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

'Not only will we miss Emma’s drive and effort on the ice, we will miss her positivity, smile and humour on the bench and in the dressing room'
20220924 emma shimizu nip u
Emma Shimizu has been diagnosed with Stage Four Non-Hodgkin's disease.

As the Lakers ringette team looks to start a new season, players will be hitting the ice with a big hole in their roster.

Shortly after a strong showing at the Provincial Championships last spring, rookie Emma Shimizu was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer. Stage 4 means it has spread outside the lymph nodes to many places in the body, including the bone marrow, liver, lungs, and the fluid around the brain.

The 19-year-old Ottawa native is a hockey player that had never played ringette before she moved to North Bay to attend Nipissing University last fall to study social welfare.

She wasn't ready to give up on her competitive spirit on the ice, so she thought she would try out for the Lakers ringette team. The sport is a hybrid of lacrosse or basketball that is played on ice. Without having offsides, it is billed as the fastest game on ice.

“Ringette is nothing like hockey other than they are both played on ice," says head coach, Stephen Hamilton. "Emma’s strong skating skills enabled her to pick up the game quickly. Emma loved the challenge as well as how different the game was from hockey. Her determination, commitment and hard work earned Emma 'Most Improved Player-2022' honours last season."

Emma also volunteers as a coach with the U11 A Ice Boltz. 

Coach Hamilton is excited and optimistic about their prospects this season.  

“With only four players returning in 2021, COVID restrictions really hampered our program.  This season our entire roster has returned, and we have added seven strong recruits.  When we are competing against 19 other university ringette teams across the country, something will be missing.  Not only will we miss Emma’s drive and effort on the ice, but we will also miss her positivity, smile and humour on the bench and in the dressing room” says Hamilton. 

The Lakers have dedicated this season to Emma and look forward to her return next season.   

The team starts its season with a couple of exhibition games this Sunday, October 2 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. against Laurentian.  Both games are at Sam Jacks arena, named for the man who invented the sport.

The Lakers are inviting Emma’s West Ferris Ringette and North Bay Ice Boltz extended families, as well as the North Bay community to come out to the games. 

"In lieu of admission, donations will be accepted at the door to support Emma’s fight for life," says Hamilton.