Never before has a woman held such a senior hockey decision-making position in Vancouver Canucks history. She is only the second woman in NHL history to be hired as an assistant general manager, following Angela Gorgon, who was hired by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 1996.
Who could have seen it coming?
New Canucks assistant general manager Émilie Castonguay and her late sister, that’s who.
Castonguay, who was hired by the Canucks today, played NCAA Division 1 hockey at Niagara University from 2005-2009, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance. She obtained a law degree from the University of Montreal in 2012 and is also a member of the Barreau du Québec.
She then became a player agent, representing former Canuck Antoine Roussel, Alexis Lafrenière of the New York Rangers and Canadian Olympic star Marie-Philip Poulin, among others.
But from the start, she believed Vancouver was in her future.
“Personally, I have a very strong relationship with the city of Vancouver for different reasons,” Castonguay said from his home in Montreal. “Personally, it’s always been a place I wanted to be and where I wanted to live.”
Years ago, Castonguay said she wrote “Vancouver” and an age. And it looks like the 38-year-old is ahead of schedule.
“I have a vision board at home that I’ve had for over 5-6 years,” she said. “I had written there at a certain age, and I had written Vancouver next to it, simply because I wanted to be in Vancouver at that time in my life. I did not know How? ‘Or’ What I was going to get there or how it was going to be, but I will reach that age in about a month and a half.
“It’s always been kind of in the back of my mind on my vision board. Whether it’s as an agent or working for the NHL, I didn’t know how I was going to be there, but it’s pretty awesome. that it happened like that. For me, Vancouver was a no-brainer. I feel like they have a great young team that is hungry to win and I’m really happy to be part of their journey now.
Answering a question in French, Castonguay revealed that in the last conversation she had with her late sister almost 10 years ago, she predicted that one day Emilie would lead the Canucks.
“She told me I would manage the Vancouver Canucks one day,” Castonguay said, translated below by Marc Antoine Godin from Athleticism.
“To have the Canucks call me, that was a pretty emotional moment for me…I felt like it was kind of the universe that brought me there.”
Here is the translated text (by @MAGodin) of Émilie Castonguay’s response in French about her late sister, who told her in one of their last conversations that she would handle the #Canucks one day: pic.twitter.com/fw3wD1V5k9
— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) January 24, 2022
Castonguay will play an important role on the Canucks management team, as negotiating player contracts will be one of his responsibilities.
Although she said she never really thought about gender in her journey to get to this level, the historical significance has not been lost on Castonguay.
“Obviously it’s a great day, whether I like it or not. I think it’s a historic day. It shows that women have a place in sport and in hockey.
“It’s a historic day, it shows that women have a place in sport and in hockey.”
🗣️ Canucks Assistant General Manager Émilie Castonguay pic.twitter.com/3tO1Kyjitl
—Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 24, 2022
Prior to rising through the ranks over the past 7 years with Momentum Hockey Agency, Castonguay said she was mentored by former Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.
“I never really thought about gender during my journey. I had a very non-binary approach, in the sense that I wanted to do something in hockey and I wanted it to mean something to me… I never let the kind of bother me.
Beyond luck, Castonguay said she chose to come to Vancouver because of Jim Rutherford and the vision of the new president of Canucks hockey operations for the team.
“I believed in his vision. I believed in what the Aquilini family and management wanted to do. They wanted to build a team that was diverse, had different opinions and could bring different things to the table. I was really impressed with everything they wanted to do and obviously bought into it.
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