There’s been a clear shift in the Vancouver Canucks organization since they brought in Jim Rutherford as president of hockey operations back in December.
A shift in communication — both internally and externally — and a clear, concise plan being laid out that Rutherford is hoping will lead this organization to a Stanley Cup has fans believing once again.
It’s also attracted some smart hockey minds.
All of the Canucks’ recent hires — from GM Patrik Allvin, AGM Emilie Castonguay, to video analyst Rachel Doerrie — have cited Rutherford’s “vision” as a major selling point for joining the Canucks.
Now, you can add Cammi Granato to that list.
The all-time leading goal scorer for Team USA — and most recently Seattle Kraken pro scout — has joined the Canucks as an assistant general manager.
“I’m very excited to take on this role and that Jim has brought me on,” said Granato when addressing the media yesterday.
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“It helped tremendously,” said Granato when asked about how her role with Seattle helped her prep for the AGM job. “Just kind of immersing myself in learning the league, learning the players, building a database for Seattle, watching players over and over, writing thousands of reports, sitting in on scouting meetings, sitting in with the management team, listening and learning — all of that prepped me for this job.”
“Jim and I had some great conversations,” said Granato, who added that talks of her joining the organization began roughly nine days ago. “He had a lot of wonderful things to say about what his vision is, and he’s a great person so it was really exciting to hear about this opportunity.”
The key phrase there is Jim Rutherford’s “vision”.
Rutherford has talked extensively about how he wants to put together a front office where everyone’s voices are heard, and that there are voices from a multitude of different backgrounds bringing ideas and opinions to the table.
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Clearly, that hasn’t just been lip service from Rutherford to the media — as every hire he’s made recently has commented in some form about how they truly believe in the forward-thinking message Rutherford is selling.
“I’m a team player,” said Granato. “I grew up in a team environment right from the start, and that was one of the first things Jim talked about — was how collaborative we’ll all be, how all voices will be heard on any leadership or hockey ops things that come up. I really love that idea that we can all work together just on a flat level together and share our ideas and that’s really, really exciting and I think a super healthy way to run a team.”
Granato joins Emilie Castonguay to become the first two female assistant general managers working for a team at the same time in NHL history, but she isn’t looking to celebrate that achievement for too long.
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“It’s a really big day to have two women in management on one team and just goes to show Jim’s vision to diversify, get different voices, get different people’s experiences and draw them together,” said Granato. “So I think it’s something to celebrate looking at two women on a management team, but on the other hand, maybe this conversation will change  — in 10 years it won’t be a big deal, or five years it won’t be a big deal when other teams do the same and follow suit.”
“I’m a hockey player. I always defined myself as a hockey player growing up. It was other people that defined me as a girl trying to play a man’s game, so I’m used to that sort of view but for me, that’s not how I identify myself. Hockey’s been a part of my life since I was… I was pretty much born into it. So I’m confident in that but I do think it is a bit of a celebration today. But after that, we’re going to get to work like everybody else on this team and that’s what it’s all about.”
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