The NHL is making strides in diversifying its front offices, as more women are taking on executive roles in hockey operations. In the past year, five women have been hired or promoted as assistant general managers, joining a small but growing group of female leaders in the league.
The five women are:
Kate Madigan assistant GM of the New Jersey Devils. Madigan, who has been with the Devils since 2014, was promoted to her current role in July 2021. She oversees the team’s scouting, player development, and analytics departments, and is involved in contract negotiations and salary cap management.
Meghan Hunter, assistant GM of the Chicago Blackhawks. Hunter, who joined the Blackhawks in 2016, was named assistant GM in August 2021. She is responsible for overseeing the team’s hockey administration, including contracts, salary cap, and compliance. She also works closely with the coaching staff and the player development staff. She played college hockey at the University of Wisconsin, and coached at the University of Vermont and the University of Minnesota.
Hayley Wickenheiser, assistant director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Wickenheiser, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest female hockey players of all time, was hired by the Maple Leafs in 2018 as their assistant director of player development. She works with the team’s prospects and young players, helping them improve their skills and transition to the NHL. She is also a medical student at the University of Calgary, and a four-time Olympic gold medalist with Team Canada.
Cammi Granato, assistant GM of the Vancouver Canucks. Granato, who is a Hockey Hall of Fame player and a two-time Olympic medalist with Team USA, was hired by the Canucks in February 2021 as their assistant GM. She is part of the team’s amateur scouting staff, focusing on North America. She is also the co-founder and director of the Golden Knights Hockey School, a youth hockey program in Las Vegas.
Émilie Castonguay, assistant GM of the Vancouver Canucks. Castonguay, who is a former player agent and lawyer, was hired by the Canucks in July 2021 as their assistant GM. She is in charge of the team’s pro scouting staff, as well as the legal and contractual aspects of hockey operations. She is also the founder and president of Momentum Hockey, a sports management agency that represents several NHL players, including Alexis Lafrenière, the first overall pick in the 2020 draft.
These women are breaking barriers and paving the way for more diversity and inclusion in the NHL, which has historically been dominated by men. They are also bringing their unique perspectives, experiences, and skill sets to their roles, contributing to the success and growth of their teams and the league.
The NHL has also made progress in hiring more women in other areas of hockey, such as broadcasting, coaching, officiating, and health and safety. Some of the notable examples are:
Kim Davis, executive vice president of social impact, growth initiatives, and legislative affairs for the NHL. Davis, who joined the league in 2017, is responsible for leading the league’s efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as growing the game and engaging with new audiences. She also oversees the league’s government relations and public affairs. She has a background in corporate social responsibility, having worked for JPMorgan Chase for over 20 years.
Heidi Browning, chief marketing officer for the NHL. Browning, who joined the league in 2016, is responsible for developing and executing the league’s marketing strategy, including branding, fan engagement, digital and social media, and partnerships. She also leads the league’s innovation initiatives, such as the use of data and technology to enhance the fan experience. She has a background in digital media and entertainment, having worked for Pandora, MySpace, and Universal Music Group.
Kim Pegula, president and co-owner of the Buffalo Sabres. Pegula, who bought the Sabres with her husband Terry in 2011, is the president and co-owner of the team, as well as the president and co-owner of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. She is also the president and CEO of Pegula Sports and Entertainment, a company that manages the Pegulas’ sports, entertainment, and hospitality assets. She is the first woman to hold the title of president for both an NHL and an NFL team.
Kendall Coyne Schofield:
Kendall Coyne Schofield, player development coach and youth hockey growth specialist for the Chicago Blackhawks. Coyne Schofield, who is a six-time world champion and an Olympic gold medalist with Team USA, was hired by the Blackhawks in November 2020 as their player development coach and youth hockey growth specialist. She works with the team’s prospects, as well as the youth hockey community in Chicago, to help grow the game and inspire the next generation of players. She is also a broadcaster for NBC Sports and the NHL Network.
Alyssa Gagliardi, player development coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Gagliardi, who is a former professional player and a four-time national champion with Cornell University, was hired by the Maple Leafs in August 2021 as their player development coach. She works with the team’s prospects, especially the defensemen, to help them improve their skills and transition to the NHL. She is also a co-founder and board member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, a group that advocates for a sustainable and equitable professional league for women.
Katie Guay, referee for the NHL. Guay, who is a former college player and coach, became the first woman to officiate an NHL game in September 2019, when she worked as a referee in a preseason game between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers. She also officiated at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, and the 2020 NHL Elite Women’s 3-on-3. She is currently a director of philanthropy at the USA Hockey Foundation.
These women are making history and inspiring others to follow their dreams and pursue their passion for hockey. They are also bringing their talent, expertise, and professionalism to their roles, enhancing the quality and performance of their teams and the league.
Learn more at: https://www.nhl.com/news/women-making-big-strides-in-nhl-hockey-as-executives-scouts-330510122
The Sport Lady has been a lifelong sports enthusiast. She believes that sports have the power to unite people, create common bonds, and foster shared experiences. As a wife and mother of sports lovers, she is passionate about her favorite teams and cherishes every opportunity to watch them play. For her, every day is game day!