VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Cammi Granato has been watching the Vancouver Canucks for years.
As a professional scout for the Seattle Kraken since 2019 — the first female scout in NHL history — she’s spent a lot of time in the press box at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, scouting for talent on the new team. league.
Now she will have a new sight. The Canucks named Granato as assistant general manager on Thursday.
“I’m very, very excited to take on this role,” Granato said in a video call.
As assistant general manager, Granato will oversee Vancouver’s player development department and its amateur and professional scouting department. It’s a job she feels prepared for after three years of scouting for the Kraken.
“One of the things I said coming here is that I’ve never done this job before, but I have great people around me. I have a lot of experience in the game and certainly the experience with Seattle helped prepare me,” said Granato, who recently published a children’s book.
Granato, 50, joins a Canucks front office that has been completely overhauled since former general manager Jim Benning, head coach Travis Green and several other staff were let go in early December.
She also has extensive playing experience, having captained the USA team that beat Canada to the gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. The Downers Grove, Illinois native also won silver at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002.
She remains the U.S. women’s all-time leading scorer with 343 points (186 goals and 157 assists) and in 2010 reached the pinnacle of the sport as a player — she and Canadian Angela James were the first women to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“Cammi is a tremendous leader and has earned the respect of the hockey world,” Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford said in a statement. “She has a great spirit for the game and the experience and influence at all levels,”
Rutherford, who was named president of hockey operations shortly after the rollover at the end of 2021, also hired former Penguins assistant general manager Patrik Allvin as general manager and former scout Derek Clancey and former players’ agent Emilie Castonguay as Assistant General Managers.
“It’s definitely a great day to have two women in management on a team,” Granato said of his role and that of Castonguay. “It just shows Jim’s vision of branching out, getting different voices, getting experience from different people and bringing them together.
“Maybe that conversation will change and in 10 years it won’t be a big deal anymore, or in five years it won’t be a big deal anymore, when other teams follow suit.”
Granato believes she and Castonguay won’t be anomalies for long. She expects more women to join league teams, and soon.
“Now you can look at the position of someone who is qualified and not just think that’s a man’s role,” she said. “There are women who are qualified, there are players who will come out of these Olympics who will retire and be able to take on roles in the NHL. I think you will see more. I think it’s an exciting time.
Hiring Granato was a bittersweet moment for Seattle general manager Ron Francis.
“We wish Cammi the best and thank her for her work in launching the Kraken,” said Francis. “We understand this is the right opportunity for her and her family.”