Seattle now has an expansion team in the NHL and is busy trying to put all the pieces of the organization together, including its name. That name probably won’t be revealed until the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game in January, but, in the meantime, the back office is working diligently to build the franchise. That includes forming a team of scouts and, for the first time in NHL history, a female pro scout has been added. It took a new team with a new face to change the game after more than 100 years.
Cammi Granato, a Hockey Hall of Famer and former Team USA member, has been tapped to be a scout for Seattle. Her recruitment follows the team’s mantra of including “a diverse slate of candidates for every role” and Granato will be included among the 50 percent of the team’s 60 employees who are females.
Granato wasn’t just a member of Team USA; she was its captain. The 48-year-old athlete was the captain of the team that took the Gold Medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. That was also a first for Granato, as it was the first time that the Olympics allowed women’s teams take to the ice.
Four years later, she was part of the squad when it took the Silver Medal in Salt Lake City.
The new Seattle scout went on to be inducted into three different Halls of Fame – the International Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008, the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame (the first female inductee) in 2009 and the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHF) in 2010. She was one of the first females to be selected for the HHF, joined at the time only by Angela James.
With those credentials, it wasn’t too surprising that she would find a spot as a scout.
“When I was being interviewed, it was very apparent this organization was thinking outside the box,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “When I took the job, I was encouraged to continue that mantra: think outside the box. Cammi’s name came up. I know she’s a female pro scout for us, but her résumé is why she got the job — not because she’s female.”
Hockey is in Granato’s blood. Her older brother is former NHL player Tony Granato and her husband is former star Ray Ferraro. She is also the stepmother to Ferraro’s two children, Matt and Landon, with the latter being an NHL draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2009. Ferraro and Francis were teammates on the Hartford Whalers in the 1980s.
The new scout will pick up her duties starting sometime late next month, working out of her home city of Vancouver, British Columbia. She will be looking for players out of the Western Conference to recruit to Seattle as it faces its first draft in the summer of 2021. She states that the timing is right, adding that trying to manage her home life and life on the road when her children were younger wouldn’t have been possible.
“When [Matt and Landon] were little it just wasn’t feasible to leave, when they have one parent on the road,” Granato told ESPN. “Now they’re getting to an age where they’re a little older and settled, so this opportunity when it came around was a perfect fit for me and for our family. I didn’t feel like I was compromising anything by saying yes.”
Granato is the first female scout for the league, but not the first female representative. In 1992, the San Jose Sharks hired Deborah Wright to be a scout, but it was only a part-time gig and, a year later, Angela Gorgone became the first female scouting coordinator when she was picked up by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Last year, Haley Wickenheiser joined the Toronto Maple Leafs as its Director of Player Development.