Management positions in the NHL | 25 years ago, Angela Gorgone paved the way

The name of Angela Gorgone was buried deep in the collective memory of the small world of hockey. However, it resurfaced in the news on Monday for two reasons. One happy. The other, frankly less.

Posted at 6:55 p.m.

Simon Olivier Lorange

Simon Olivier Lorange
The Press

By accepting the position of assistant general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, Quebecer Émilie Castonguay succeeded Gorgone, the first woman to have reached such a high position in the NHL. So much for the positive part of the story. What is a bit embarrassing is that it was also the last. And that was a quarter of a century ago.

When they joined the NHL in 1993, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks were definitely the cool team of the hour. It therefore made sense that it was this franchise that gave a woman a chance in an important position in hockey operations.

After a few seasons spent in the organization of the New Jersey Devils, where she held an administrative job, Gorgone therefore moved her household to California to become coordinator of the recruitment of the powerful ducks. Three years later, at the dawn of the 1996-97 season, she was promoted to assistant general manager Jack Ferreira. Never seen.

The Press was able to speak with Gorgon, Monday. The one who left hockey years ago has completely changed careers. She now owns a pastry shop in the suburbs of San Francisco.

It is also through the Facebook page of Bake My Day that we traced it. And we can say without being mistaken that the appointment of Émilie Castonguay has indeed made its day.

“I’m excited!” she said straight away. It’s not easy for anyone, especially not a woman, to reach the top echelons of the NHL, so I applaud this achievement. I wish him all my congratulations. »

believe in them

The paths of Angela Gorgone and Émilie Castonguay, if they converge towards the same point, are not really alike. Gorgone was in her early twenties when she accepted her first job with the Devils, after studying sports administration. She learned the ropes of the trade within the organizations that employed her. Castonguay, she studied finance and law and made her mark as a respected players’ agent before joining the Canucks. She is now in her late thirties.

Where the two stories are identical is that, in an almost exclusively male world, leaders believed in them.

Gorgone readily lists them: Lou Lamoriello, Max McNab and Marshall Johnston with the Devils; Jack Ferreira and Pierre Gauthier with the Mighty Ducks; and David Poile, general manager of the Nashville Predators, who named her director of hockey operations when the team moved to the country town in 1997.

All of these people, she recalls, “were forward-thinking enough to look beyond the fact that I was a woman and focused on my ability to do the job.”

She is delighted today that more women occupy prestigious roles in the NHL. She spontaneously cites as examples Cammi Granato and Alexandra Mandrycky, respectively professional scout and director of strategy and research at the Seattle Kraken, as well as Hayley Wickenheiser, senior director of player development at the Toronto Maple Leafs.

She nevertheless says she is “surprised” that it took “25 or 30 years for women to begin to be considered in hockey operations positions like these”.

“I don’t want to speak for Emilie or anyone else, but I bet none of us ever had the goal of being the first woman to do this or that in the NHL. . »

“Like the men before us, we were passionate about hockey and determined to make it a career. We didn’t do it for fame and especially not for the label of being a “woman” in this sport. Like everyone else, we just wanted the chance to prove we’re up to it. »

Slowly but surely this is happening. Finally, might we add.

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