Vancouver Canucks appoint former agent Emilie Castonguay as assistant general manager

VANCOUVER — Emilie Castonguay has never let being a woman stop her from making her way through the hockey world — and she doesn’t expect gender to be an issue as she pursues his path.

VANCOUVER — Emilie Castonguay has never let being a woman stop her from making her way through the hockey world — and she doesn’t expect gender to be an issue as she pursues his path.

On Monday, she became the first female assistant general manager in Vancouver Canucks history.

“I never really thought about gender during my journey. I had a very non-binary approach in the sense that I wanted to do something in hockey and I wanted it to mean something to me. I never thought “Hey, there’s only men in this industry, I can’t do that,” said Castonguay, who in 2016 became the first female NHLPA-certified agent in Canada.

“I kind of got all the knowledge I thought I could get to get to where I am today and I just put my head down and did the work. I think if you let the genre get in the way or you intimidating is when he will. And I’ve never really let that happen to me on my journey.

Although Castonguay hasn’t let gender influence her career, she knows her new role will mean a lot to others.

“Obviously it’s a great day,” she said. “I think it’s a historic day. It shows that women have a place in sport and in hockey.

Castonguay has a deep knowledge and love of hockey.

The Montreal native played four years at Niagara University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. She then obtained a law degree from the University of Montreal and became a member of the Barreau du Québec.

She comes to the Canucks from the Momentum Hockey agency where she has represented several high-level players, including Alexis Lafrenière, first choice in the 2020 NHL Draft, and Marie-Philip Poulin of Team Canada.

Castonguay’s hiring is the latest in a series of sweeping changes for the Canucks.

Vancouver fired head coach Travis Green, general manager Jim Benning and several other front desk workers Dec. 5 after a dismal start to the season. Bruce Boudreau was hired as head coach and Jim Rutherford took over as president of hockey operations and interim general manager.

“Emilie has extensive experience, is driven to succeed and has a solid reputation in hockey for her intelligence and work ethic,” Rutherford said in a statement.

With the Canucks, Castonguay will play a lead role in player contracts and negotiations, and manage the collective bargaining agreement, he added.

“She will be a key member of our leadership team and we are pleased to welcome her to Vancouver,” said Rutherford.

A move to Vancouver has been on Castonguay’s vision board for many years. She also worked with the Canucks as an agent, including negotiating a four-year, US$12 million contract for then-free agent Antoine Roussel in 2018.

So when Rutherford approached Castonguay for a job, she was intrigued.

“For me, Vancouver was a no-brainer,” she said. “I feel they have a great young team that is hungry to win. And I’m just very happy to be part of their journey now.”

When Rutherford called, he said he believed she could fill the role and be great at it, Castonguay added.

“I just felt what he wanted was quality people with quality vision and who can impact quality,” she said. “And he thought I was one of those people.”

Deciding to switch from representing players to working with an NHL club, however, was not easy. Castonguay said the conversations she had with her clients before accepting the Canucks job were “emotional.”

“I can’t thank them, the whole group enough, just for believing in me and allowing me to be that person for them,” she said. “But they were so happy for me and they were so supportive. They know the kind of impact I want to have on the game, they know the changes I want to make.”

As she joins the Canucks, Castonguay wants to have a human impact on the team’s players.

“Hockey players are human. The product that is on the ice are human beings. And that’s important,” she said. “It’s very important to remember that you have to put the players first and you have to listen to them and make sure they have everything they need. need to be successful.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 24, 2022.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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