Updated: Jul 21, 2022
It’s no secret that the sports industry has a history of being a boy’s club. But as of recently this once male-dominated field has welcomed more women to its upper ranks. In 2020, Kim Ng was named the Miami Marlins' general manager. In 2020, Katie Sowers made headlines as the second female full-time coach in NFL history and the first female and first openly gay coach in a Super Bowl. And, the AHL has 10 female officials for the 2021-2022 season. It has taken a long time but slowly the industry is trying to move toward a more inclusive environment for women.
I personally love to see women getting promoted to positions that were once male dominated. That’s why I was ecstatic when the Vancouver Canucks announced their choice for their new assistant general manager. Émilie Castonguay was hired by the Canucks as assistant general manager for the team, and she has made history on two fronts. Castonguay is the first women to be an assistant GM in the Canucks history and she is the second women in the history of the NHL to hold such title.
Angela Gorgone was the first woman to hold the title when she was promoted by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (now known as the Ducks) in 1996. Before joining the Canucks Castonguay worked for Momentum Hockey a player management group. She was the first woman to be certified by the NHL Players' Association as a player agent in 2016. Her most prominent client was Alexis Lafreniere, who was selected first overall by the New York Rangers in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Prior to becoming an agent, Castonguay was named one of the 25 most powerful women in hockey by Sportsnet in 2020 and played four years of NCAA Division I hockey as a forward at Niagara University. At the press conference announcing the choice Castonguay said "It's a historic day, and it goes to show that women have a place in sports and in hockey, I've always had such a good reception from everybody in the sport, and it's important for women that want to be in the sport to know that. Sometimes you get intimidated, but you shouldn't. If you have the knowledge and you've done the work, there's a place for you here. If it needs to start with me, good, but for me, it's just always been my experience."
As a woman who loves hockey and hopes to one day work for the NHL or one of the 32 teams, the naming of a female assistant GM gives me hope. In the coming years, I hope for more diversity in executive positions in the sports field. I want to wish Émilie the best of luck in her new position knowing the future is bright for women in the NHL.
Jessica Shaw is the Secretary of the New York Law School Sports Law Society. She can be reached on Twitter @JessicaShaw22.
 Wyshynski, Greg. “Vancouver Canucks Hire Émilie Castonguay as Assistant GM, Making Her Second Woman in NHL History to Hold the Title.” ESPN, 24 Jan. 2022, https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/33139847/vancouver-canucks-hire-emilie-castonguay-assistant-gm-making-second-woman-nhl-history-hold-title.  Id.  Id.  Woodley, Kevin. “Castonguay Hired by Canucks as Assistant GM.” NHL.com, NHL.com, 25 Jan. 2022, www.nhl.com/news/vancouver-hires-teams-first-female-assistant-gm/c-330132858.  Id.