NHL | Place for women | The print


Émilie Castonguay knew it would not remain an anomaly for long.

Posted at 15:31

Gemma Karstens-Smith
The Canadian press

The former players agent made history in January when she became the Vancouver Canucks’ first ever female assistant general and one of the few women working in an NHL executive office.

“Sometimes only one domino has to fit and I think the glass ceiling is shattered,” said Castonguay. And I knew the floodgates would open later. ”

She was right.

During the NHL draft on Thursday and Friday, there were plenty of women on hand, including five female deputy general managers.

Cammi Granato, who joined Canucks’ management in February, sat next to Vancouver general manager Patrik Allvin, talking about the players and, at one point, looking at a photo of the morning sky sent by the Allvin guys from their home in Sweden. Castonguay sat next to Canucks Hockey Operations President Jim Rutherford, carefully studying the team roster.


The Garnet Way

At the Toronto Maple Leafs table was Hayley Wickenheiser, who was promoted to Deputy General Manager of Player Development Tuesday. Also on the pitch were Meghan Hunter of the Chicago Blackhawks and Kate Madigan of the New Jersey Devils after she was promoted to deputy general manager earlier this month.

“There were times when I didn’t think it was an option for women. When I was young there were no shows, so I didn’t think it would happen in my life, ”admitted Granato.


Hayley Wickenheiser

Garnet has a long history of breaking down barriers for women in hockey.

She was captain of the United States team that beat Canada to gold at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and is the all-time top scorer for the United States women’s team. Garnet she and Canadian Angela James became the first women to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010. She went on to become the first female NHL scout when she was signed by the Seattle Kraken.

“I think mentalities are changing and there is an awareness that women are qualified,” said Granato. Before it was said: “Women don’t know how to do this job, they aren’t qualified, they don’t know hockey”, but that’s not true. ”

Virtually everywhere

Executive offices aren’t the only places women enter the NHL.

The Montreal Canadiens recently hired three-time Olympic gold medalist Marie-Philip Poulin as their player development consultant, and the Los Angeles Kings welcomed pioneer Manon Rhéaume as their hockey operations consultant. In the American Hockey League, the Coachella Valley Firebirds will have Jessica Campbell behind the bench as assistant coach at the start of their inaugural season.


Marie-Philip Poulin

According to Meghan Hunter, the wave of women occupying positions in the league started a long time ago.

“You could almost smell it. The timing was so perfect and it’s so great, she said. I could see what was happening, that we were starting to break down some barriers. Women bring different opinions to different organizations and it’s really great that we finally have these opportunities. ”

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Hunter had considered working in hockey operations. Instead, he worked behind the bench, also coaching Castonguay at Niagara University.

“I naturally entered the teaching of women’s hockey and started on that path,” said Ms.myself Soccer player. My journey hasn’t been linear. I didn’t really know where I was going after my playing career.

“I just did what I loved and worked hard, and I’m grateful that these opportunities come when they do. ”

Last week, the NHL broke a new barrier when the San Jose Sharks hired Mike Grier as the league’s first black general manager.


Mike Grier

It’s “fabulous” to have more diversity in executive offices, said Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland, a longtime NHL executive.

“To bring minorities and women into our sport, think of all the hockey players on the Canadian team, the American team and also from other countries; they have been playing hockey since they were little girls, just like little boys.

“So I think it’s a good thing for our championship and I expect it to continue more and more. ”

People who get those positions in the NHL get them not because they tick a box, but because they are talented, Castonguay said.

“I’ve said it from the beginning: for me it’s just about hiring the right people and the most competent people, be it a man or a woman. And I feel that’s what we’re doing. As long as the trend continues and we are doing it for the right reasons, I am in favor. ”


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