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A Twin Dilemma: Emma Embar Forges Unique Identity at Penn State

Emma Embar (right) scored her first collegiate goal on November 14th against Slippery Rock



By Mary Clarke

Emma Embar shares hockey teams with her twin Tarika, but she doesn’t enjoy the same experience.

Unlike other sets of hockey twins – Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux – Emma’s time with her sister on the ice hasn’t always had success.

“It really depends on the situation we are in when determining if we work well together,” Emma Embar, freshman left winger for the Penn State women’s ice hockey club, said. “We usually get along at practice and can handle being on the same line, but we let coach Pat [Fung] know that it probably isn't the best idea to put us on the same line for games.

“We tend to accidentally ‘follow each other’ around the ice and we get mad at each other quickly.”

Emma and her twin sister Tarika have been playing hockey together since their freshman years of high school. Natives of Pittsburgh, the pair has been inseparable since they first stepped out onto the ice with their first team, the Allderdice Dragons.

As high school went on, the twins moved to playing with other teams, sometimes multiple clubs at a time. In their sophomore year Emma and Tarika split time between the Dragons and a team in the South Hills Amateur Hockey Association. As juniors, they dropped the Dragons and only continued in the SHAHA, but in their last year, the duo played for the Steel City Selects in their U19 Tier II team along with SHAHA.

As seniors with Steel City, the twins helped the Selects take home the U19 Tier II District Championship, and it’s one of Emma’s greatest accomplishments to date.

“The game we played that won us that title was probably the best game I've ever played,” Emma said. “I'm extremely proud of it.”

However, the road together hasn’t been an easy one, Emma said, as she often compares herself to her sister when she scores goals or gets more ice time than her.

“I sometimes take it the wrong way,” Emma said.

Despite their inability to click on the ice and some sibling rivalry, there’s nothing but love between the two sisters.

“[Tarika] works extremely hard both on and off the ice and is committed to any team she's on,” Emma said. “She works on improving as much as she can and it also really helps push me on and off the ice. It often reminds me to work towards the goal of improving myself and to not compare my skill level with the other players.”

The team’s matchup against Slippery Rock on November 14 was a big milestone for the sisters. Both twins tallied goals in a 15-3 rout of the visiting team in Penn State’s last home game of the semester.

The freshman’s goal from the left circle at 5:54 of the second period was her first as a member of the Nittany Lions and her first game sharing a score with her sister in their collegiate careers.

Emma’s path to playing as a forward for the Lady Ice Lions started thanks to the $40,000 Pittsburgh Promise scholarship she received as a part of attending a Pittsburgh Public School, which allowed her to attend any college she wanted in Pennsylvania.

Though she was accepted to the University of Pittsburgh, was within walking distance of the campus, and had pressure from her mother to attend the local college, Emma decided against staying close to home.

“I didn't like the idea of attending school in my backyard and I wanted a full college experience away from home,” Emma said. “Not only did Penn State have my intended major, but I also intended on staying with hockey for as long as possible and Penn State offered both.”

Currently, Emma is enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts and plans on majoring in psychology when able.

The twin’s decision was also an easy one after touring the school last year, as Emma said she fell in love with the campus very early on in the selection process.

As a first-year student on campus and on the ice with the team, Emma knows she has a lot to learn as a beginner with the club.

“My favorite thing about being a part of any hockey team is the family away from family that it offers me, except for the fact that my twin sister has always played with me,” Emma said. “I feel like the older girls on this team are role models for me and it's really a lot different than the age differences on all my younger teams.”

Mary Clarke is a Penn State senior majoring in sports journalism, with a minor in English, and a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. She covers the Nittany Lions varsity hockey teams for both Victory Bell Rings and SB Nation College Hockey.

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