Sports

Devils hire 5th woman to NHL asst. GM role in ’22

Kate Madigan on Wednesday has been promoted by the New Jersey Devils to assistant general manager, becoming the fifth woman elevated to that position this offseason.

Madigan joins Emilie Castonguay and Cammi Granato (Vancouver Canucks), Meghan Hunter (Chicago Blackhawks) and Hayley Wickenheiser (Toronto Maple Leafs) as new assistant general managers in the NHL.

Before this year, one woman had served as assistant general manager in NHL history; Angela Gorgone held the position with the Anaheim Ducks during the 1996-97 season.

This has been a historic offseason for the NHL diversifying its hockey operations departments. On Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks hired Mike Grier, making him the first Black general manager in league history.

The same day, Jessica Campbell became the first woman behind a bench in the AHL or NHL when she was named assistant coach of the Coachella Valley Firebirds — the Seattle Kraken’s top affiliate. The Washington Capitals promoted Emily Engel-Natzke to head video coach, making her the first woman to hold a full-time position on an NHL coaching staff.

The NHL has put an emphasis on being more inclusive over the past several years, with most initiatives spearheaded by Kim Davis, who joined the NHL in 2017 and serves as the league’s vice president of social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs. Davis is a close adviser to commissioner Gary Bettman, who has expressed a desire to see the sport diversify — among its fan base, players and employees.

“We can make a difference in people’s lives because we have the platform,” Bettman said in 2019 at the NHL’s inaugural diversity summit. “But I also think we have an obligation as sports to let people be the best they can be. It’s about what we all have in common, not what separates us. To understand that there are particular segments of society that have been left behind, we have the opportunity to elevate and bring more people together.”

The Devils now have two high-ranking women in their front office, after also promoting Meghan Duggan to director of player development last month.

Madigan, who holds business administration and accounting degrees from Northeastern, joined the Devils in 2017. She’s risen in New Jersey’s front office, most recently serving as executive director of hockey management/operations. According to the Devils, Madigan will be part of a small group that general manager Tom Fitzgerald will lean on for key input, strategy and decision-making.

“Kate has been an incredibly valuable resource to not only me, but to our entire hockey operations leadership staff, particularly over the past three years, as part of key hockey decisions,” Fitzgerald said. “This promotion is reflective of the duties and responsibilities that Kate has assumed within our organization during that time. Her diligence, work ethic, attention to detail, ability to communicate with all staff, strategy and vision are qualities that I look for in our leadership.”

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