"After sixty minutes of play, you can be exhausted just watching the game," said Game Entertainment Coordinator Rachel Becker. "It is the passion that surrounds the sport that makes me love hockey."
Suiting up for an NHL game might be the dream of many, but few will ever get to experience a professional hockey game on the ice. So what’s the next best thing? Working for an NHL front office, of course!
The layers of a front office are many, but for this piece, I wanted to focus on the women who hold these coveted jobs.
I spoke with five female employees of the Capitals office, and despite the fact that they all hold a different position within the organization, their answers all resonated with one another.
"Unlike other sports, there are no slow points in hockey," said Director of Team Operations Katy Headman. "Things are always changing, and as a result, players and teams have to make adjustments on the fly."
Senior Manager of Promotions and Fan Development Kim Frank echoed this sentiment, "It is very fast paced and completely different than other sports. Watching the guys out there on skates and being thrown into the boards while going after a small puck … it is amazing."
It’s not just the game of hockey that moves quickly. According to these women, life in the front office mirrors this trait.
"I enjoy the different things I get to do every day," said Communications Coordinator Kelly Murray. "One day I’m taking two players to a elementary or middle school to help teach kids the fundamentals of hockey, and the next day I’m gearing up for the game that night. I’m constantly going at a fast pace."
"The job is always changing," added Headman. "I’ve had the chance to meet and work with so many good people along the way."
Working within a front office, the women are also privy to a different aspect of hockey: the personal side of the players.
"I enjoy getting to see a side of the players that many do not get to see – how they interact with students, hospital patients or young hockey players," said Director of Community Relations Elizabeth Wodatch. "I am always impressed with how well they are able to connect with the people we are working with."
"I love my job because of the people I work with, not only the front office staff and our scouts, but the coaches, players and their families as well," said Headman. "We are very blessed to have some very good people as part of the organization on so many levels."
With that said, I still wondered if the women had faced any adversity, being a female in a predominately male realm. Yet, not one of the five cited any difficulties with being a woman and working in professional sports.
"In fact almost all of my counterparts throughout the NHL, and at the other sports teams locally, are women," said Wodatch.
Murray added, "I personally haven’t had any adversity working in sports, but I’m very well aware that I’m a girl in a guy’s world and I try to be respectful of that."
Furthermore, the women added that the Capitals organization at large has something special to it as well.
"The best part of the Capitals front office is that you really feel like an extension of the team," said Becker. "The organization makes an outstanding effort to keep us in the loop on current activities and build a team atmosphere at the office."
"We all have the same goal … and that is to win not only on the ice, but in everything we do regarding the Caps," said Frank.
Well, there you have it. A female perspective on life in the front office … lots of great and no bad. Too good to be true? Maybe. Or perhaps this is just the place to be!
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