NHL

Émilie Castonguay becomes 1st female assistant GM in Canucks history

"I've always been well accepted and once you get past that, and you get talking about hockey and they see you have the knowledge ... you kind of forget you're the only girl in the room."

Ex-player agent will play lead role in player contracts, negotiations, managing CBA

New Canucks assistant general manager Émilie Castonguay will play a lead role in player contracts and negotiations, and managing the collective bargaining agreement, according to GM Jim Rutherford. (Submitted by Emilie Castonguay)

The Vancouver Canucks have hired former player agent Émilie Castonguay as assistant general manager.

The 38-year-old Quebec native is only the second woman to be named an assistant GM in NHL history, and the first in Vancouver.

"It is a big day ... an historic day," she said. "It goes to show that women have a place in sports and in hockey. I'm starting as assistant general manager and we'll see where that takes me."

Jim Rutherford, Vancouver's president of hockey operations and interim GM, said in a statement Castonguay will play a lead role in player contracts and negotiations, and managing the collective bargaining agreement.

"Émilie has extensive experience, is driven to succeed and has a strong reputation in hockey for her intelligence and work ethic," Rutherford said in a news release.

Castonguay was born in Montreal and comes to the Canucks front office from Momentum Hockey where in 2016 she became the first female NHLPA certified agent in Canada.

She played four years of NCAA hockey at Niagara University where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in finance. After that, she interned with Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gautier, who she calls a mentor, before earning a law degree from the University of Montreal and joining the Quebec Bar Association.

Castonguay said being female never held her back as a player agent and she didn't expect it would in the similarly male dominated world of NHL management.

"I never saw it as anything based on gender, the competition in that sphere," she said. "I've always been well accepted and once you get past that, and you get talking about hockey and they see you have the knowledge ... you kind of forget you're the only girl in the room."

She has represented a number of high-level players, including Alexis Lafreniere, the first overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, former Canuck Antoine Roussel and Canadian national team star Marie-Philip Poulin.

During her introductory press conference, she spoke about how tough it was to leave her stable of players for the opportunity in Vancouver. 

"It was an extremely hard week for me with tough conversations," she said. "The families, the players — they mean so much to me and they always will."

Castonguay said Vancouver has a special place in her heart because that's where her sister, who passed away close to 10 years ago, predicted she'd get an NHL job one day.

Castonguay said she even created a vision board five years ago on which she wrote a number and the word "Vancouver" beside it.

"I didn't know how I was going to get there or how it was going to happen but I turn that age in about a month and a half," she said. "It's pretty awesome that it worked out that way. 

with files from Karin Larsen and Canadian Press

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