First Girl Scout

January 2020 View more

Granato (fourth from left) joins other inductees at the 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony in Toronto.

Hockey has always been a part of Cammi Granato’s life. Growing up in a household of hockey-playing brothers, it was only natural for her to hit the ice as well to see just how far the game could take her—a journey that ultimately led to two successful stints with the U.S. Women’s Olympic Team (gold in Nagano in 1998, silver in Salt Lake City in 2002) and a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010. Other than a few broadcast opportunities with the NHL, however, Granato mostly focused on raising her family (with former NHL player Ray Ferraro) in Vancouver, British Columbia, once her playing career ended. But her love of the game persisted, which is why she couldn’t wait to jump back in when the expansion NHL franchise in Seattle (set to begin play in the 2021–22 season) offered her a position as a recruiting scout.

“For me it was just an opportunity to get back into hockey when the time was right,” she says. “I had my kids right away after I retired, so I had to turn down a lot of hockey opportunities over the years that didn’t really work with my family situation. But the idea of working with the Seattle franchise really excited me, because it’s so close to where we live, and it’s really a perfect fit for where I am right now.”

While the NHL franchise has yet to announce a team name, the headline when Granato started work for Seattle in October was predictably the fact that she was coming in as the first female scout in the NHL. But she doesn’t feel any added pressure as a pioneer for her gender. After all, this is just the latest stop in a hockey career that has been defined by defying expectations.

“I’ve been in what’s considered to be a ‘man’s game’ for my whole life, so I try not to overthink that aspect of things—it’s just there,” she says. “I never identified myself as a girl trying to play hockey, I always just considered myself a hockey player. It’s other people that bring that stuff up, so there’s always a notion that maybe I have to prove myself a little bit more, but that’s nothing that I’m not used to.”

Granato (center) at the IIHF 2005 World Championship

Photos by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images and Sven Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images