Ron Francis, General Manager of the NHL’s new Seattle franchise, has announced that Cammi Granato will join the team’s fold of pro scouts to begin the process of evaluating which players to select in the 2021 Expansion Draft.
The former Providence College Lady Friar and U.S. Olympic captain and gold medalist, is a 2018 charter inductee into the RI Hockey Hall of Fame. Her groundbreaking appointment makes her the NHL’s first-ever female pro scout. Cammi, who captained the 1998 U.S. women to victory in Nagano, Japan, is widely regarded as the greatest female hockey player of all time.
“I’ve had other NHL opportunities to get back into hockey,” said Granato. “Seattle is the right fit for me and an exciting organization to join. It lined up as the perfect opportunity.”
Cammi said when she heard Seattle was awarded the league’s 32nd franchise last December, she mused to her husband, former NHLer and current broadcast analyst Ray Ferraro.
“Ray and I looked at each other,” she recalls. “I told him I would love to get involved.”
Granato dreams big. Her childhood aspiration living in suburban Chicago was to play for the NHL’s local Blackhawks, “same as my brothers.”
One of those brothers, Tony Granato, played for the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks from 1988 through 2001. He is currently head coach for the University of Wisconsin men’s team. Brother Don is an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres with a resume bursting with coaching roles in the NHL and AHL.
“Don has been my primary mentor over the years,” says Cammi Granato. “I feel like I can ask him anything about the game and get great advice. Of course, I talk with Tony and Ray, too.”
When Francis and assistant GM Ricky Olczyk were considering names for a West Coast-based scout, Granato was a natural choice.
“I want to stress that Cammi’s resume is why she got the job,” says Francis. “She knows the pro game and its players. When we talked about the role and how it is going to work, I mentioned the [Seattle] organization’s overall commitment to diversity. It probably didn’t hurt that Ray and I are friends and former [Hartford Whalers] teammates. Plus Ricky knows Cammi from their Chicago connection.”
Granato says she is excited to get going. She knows Francis and Olczyk are looking for players with high hockey intelligence or IQ.
“For me as a player, I recognized hockey IQ when I would give up the puck to a teammate and it didn’t go into a sort of black hole,” says Granato. “That high-IQ player would make the right decisions with the puck. They know what to do with the puck and without it. They anticipate plays to be made and see peripherally.”
Granato says she will be looking for those types of players, especially those who play with “tenacity.”
“What a time in sports right now, seeing all sorts of ceilings shattered by women,” said Granato. “If I can inspire someone to become a scout or work in an NHL front office, that’s amazing.”
by Bob Condor / NHLSeattle.com