Deep Blue Sea: Blackhawks hire Brigette Lacquette as scout

Brigette Lacquette becomes the first Indigenous female scout in the NHL, plus COVID updates, the upcoming Winter Classic and more in today’s news and notes.

It’s been a tough few weeks for women’s hockey in North America, with the disappointing and eyebrow-raising cancellation of the U18 women’s World Juniors tournament for the second year in a row. A combination of systemic sexism, a long-standing refusal to buy into women’s hockey by the IIHF and internal disorganization belied by the failure of the men’s World Juniors has meant that president Luc Tardiff is on the hot seat.

But while the cancellations and general attitude towards women’s hockey by the IIHF has left a bad taste in hockey fans’ mouths, there is one bright spot.

It’s no secret that the NHL has yet to truly reckon with the lack of racial and gender diversity in the league, both on and off the ice. And that aligns with my own personal experience; I’m one of two women who cover the Sharks in the press box, and often the only female journalist at their practice facility.

That’s why it’s all the more exciting and impactful for Brigette Lacquette to be hired as a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks, joining just a handful of other women in the NHL who hold scouting positions. For context, NHL teams typically have around 15 to 20 scouts, encompassing amateur and professional levels, and Europe. Out of the entire NHL, there are only four female scouts, including Lacquette: Cammi Granato (Seattle Kraken), Blake Bolden (Los Angeles Kings) and Meghan Hunter (Chicago Blackhawks).

Lacquette is the first Indigenous woman to scout for an NHL team and her hockey resume precedes her. She played for the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where in 2021-12 she was second in scoring among defenders and was thus named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team. She was selected 24th overall in the 2015 CWHL draft, and eventually won the Clarkson Cup with the Calgary Inferno in the 2015-16 season. She was the first Indigenous woman to play for Team Canada at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, winning a Silver Medal, along with playing in three World Championships with Team Canada, earning two Silver Medals and one Bronze Medal.

One might even say she’s over-qualified — I’d like to know how many other NHL scouts have the kind of bling that she does.

Assistant general manager Ryan Stewart spoke on the hiring process, saying, “She has an excellent hockey mind, period … There’s a long line of people lining up to be scouts, but we hand-pick and we’re very selective as to who could be a scout for us.”

It’s obvious that Lacquette is both extremely qualified and incredible at her job (Stewart has spoken highly of her scouting prowess). It’s also obvious that increasing the racial and gender diversity on all levels of the hockey industry is not only a good thing, but it also has clear economic benefits.

Having a more diverse group of individuals can not only open new markets and demographics, but also allows for a broader range of opinions, ideas, ad knowledge bases and can more effectively generate unique content, problem-solve and innovate. A Gallup study from 2014 found that of 800 business units across the sports industry, those that were more gender-diverse were in greater financial standing than those dominated or monopolized by one gender. The business units that were more gender-diverse had an average 14 percent higher revenue than their non-inclusive counterparts.

Brigette Lacquette is a trail-blazer in an industry that struggles with diversity and inclusion, and she’s already making an impact not only on the Blackhawks franchise, but on the entire league.

News & Notes

  • Local COVID guidelines for isolation could put Sharks at disadvantage [The Mercury News]
  • ‘The Best I’ve seen him play;’ Sharks goalie James Reimer excelling during a time of need [SF Chronicle]
  • Martin Jones, with a complicated legacy in San Jose, gets a fresh start with Flyers [The Mercury News]
  • Sharks get Dahlen back from COVID-19 list, but suffer big loss on defense [Marin Independent Journal]/

Blood in the Water

  • Brigette Lacquette breaks barriers as first Indigenous woman to scout for NHL team with Chicago Blackhawks [ESPN]
  • The Capitals Have the Worst Power Play in the NHL [Stars & Sticks]
  • Why NHL players should lobby for hockey to be moved to the Summer Olympics for 2024 [The Boston Globe]
  • NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly addresses Olympics, Winter Classic and if a full 82-game NHL season is feasible [The Athletic]
  • Return of NHL taxi squads creates domino effect in minors [Associated Press]
  • Oilers Should Be Embarrassed Over Dmitri Samorukov NHL Debut [The Hockey Writers]
  • Ranking the NHL Winter Classics based on venue, hype and style [ESPN+]
  • NHL will have to heat the ice for historically cold 2022 Winter Classic [USA Today]
  • Pacioretty out indefinitely for Golden Knights after wrist surgery [NHL]/

Scores & Recaps

  • Montreal Canadiens 0, Carolina Hurricanes 4
  • Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Florida Panthers 9
  • Philadelphia Flyers 2, San Jose Sharks 3 (OT)
  • Vancouver Canucks 1, Los Angeles Kings 2
  • Calgary Flames 6, Seattle Kraken 4
  • Buffalo Sabres 1, New York Islanders 4
  • Nashville Predators 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (SO)/

On the Schedule

  • Edmonton Oilers at New Jersey Devils, 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on SN, MSG+, ESPN+
  • Anaheim Ducks at Vegas Golden Knights, 12 p.m.PT/3 p.m. ET on SN1, ATTSN-RM, BSSC, BSSD, ESPN+
  • New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on BSSUN, MSG+, ESPN+
  • Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings, 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET on BSDET, NBCSWA, ESPN+/