Legendary Canadian women’s ice hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser has been hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs as the Assistant of Player Development.
Wickenheiser, 40, starred for the Canadian women’s national hockey team, playing for 23 years and leading the team to four Olympic gold medals before retiring in 2017.
A future Hall-of-Famer, she also becomes the first female to work on the management side for the Leafs and joins a short, but growing, list of women working in increasingly prominent front-office roles in pro sports. The list includes:
Becky Hammon: In 2014, Hammon was hired as assistant coach with San Antonio Spurs, becoming the first full-time assistant coach in North American pro sports history. And she made history earlier this year when she interviewed for the head-coach position for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Katryn Smith: Smith became the NFL’s first female full-time assistant coach in 2016 when she took over the role of special teams quality control coach.
Kim Ng: After working as assistant general manager for the New York Yankees, in 2011 Ng was appointed Marjor League Baseball’s senior vice president of baseball operations.
Martha Firestone Ford and Virginia Halas McCaskey: Ford, 92, and McCaskey, 95, became the first women to break into the old-boy network that used to have a stranglehold on running NFL franchises. Ford has been running the Detroit Lions since 2014 and McCaskey the Chicago Bears since 1983.
Both Ford and McCaskey now have company at NFL executive meetings, as Kim Pegula (Buffalo Bills), Carol Davis (Oakland Raiders), Denise DeBartolo York (San Francisco 49ers), Gayle Benson (New Orleans Saints) and Dee Haslam (Cleveland Browns) have joined them as either owners or part-owners of their respective franchises.