Emilie Castonguay has created a buzz as some of the NHL’s uncommon feminine qualified participant brokers as a result of she has one thing that the lads don’t: Alexis Lafreniere, the most likely No. 1 pick out within the 2020 NHL draft.
“It’s onerous to match him to only one participant,” Castonguay instructed USA TODAY Sports activities. “I might put him as a mixture of (Evgeni) Malkin, (Leon) Draisaitl, perhaps John Tavares. If you happen to put all of the ones avid gamers in combination and also you get (Lafreniere).”
Castonguay, a attorney, speaks hopefully, and that has helped her easily navigate as a lady in a male-dominated business.
“Wisdom is energy,” she mentioned. “And I’ve that. Once I get started speaking hockey, they notice I do know what I’m speaking about; the reality I am a feminine is forgotten.”
Castonguay, 35, says she is steadily requested to provide an explanation for the battle she has persisted breaking during the gender barrier, and he or she has no dramatic story to inform.
“To be fair, I’ve had a actually just right enjoy,” she mentioned. “Relating to normal managers and the avid gamers themselves, I’ve had no issues. Who is aware of what folks say in the back of your again, however I assume that is going for everyone.”
A Montreal local, Castonguay mentioned she used to be “born into hockey.” She began enjoying early life hockey with boys.
“You’d dress within the referee’s room and undergo that problem as a child,” she mentioned. “Hockey used to be simply my hobby early on. I beloved looking at it. I beloved it. I beloved enjoying it.”
She used to be professional sufficient to earn a full-ride scholarship at Niagara. “Discovered a task extra as a checker, a third-line participant in faculty,” Castonguay mentioned. “However (my) skill used to be extra in the study room when I were given to that stage.”
She mentioned she “wasn’t the only at the ice with two mins left at the clock.” However she used to be named captain her junior and senior yr.
“However when I learned I used to be by no means going to play within the Olympics or play professionally with the ladies or the lads, I knew I sought after to stick within the recreation,” she mentioned.
That’s when she dived headfirst into the industry aspect of the game. Montreal Canadiens govt Pierre Gauthier mentored her.
“Alongside the best way, he instructed me, ‘Via our conversations and debates, you appear to be you might be pro-player,” Castonguay mentioned. “I didn’t disagree. He mentioned perhaps you will have to move attempt to paintings with the union or the company as an alternative of an NHL group as a result of I believe you’ll be extra precious there. I took his recommendation.”
Castonguay joined Momentum Hockey as a part of a three-agent company that represents about 60 athletes, maximum of whom have now not but reached the NHL.
However the staff now has landed a prize in Lafreniere, who has 13 targets and 45 issues enjoying for Rimouski within the Quebec Main Junior Hockey League.
“There’s not anything in his mindset that may permit him to be sidetracked,” Castonguay mentioned. “There’s no means it’s now not going to figure out for him as a result of he has that mentality.”
She actually doesn’t know whether or not she has a bonus or drawback as a lady when she recruits younger avid gamers and their households.
“I believe to start with individuals are shocked, however I’ve at all times gotten superb comments about my hockey wisdom,” Castonguay mentioned. “I believe the mothers love to have a lady concerned. I’m now not certain it’s a bonus, however I am hoping it’s. But when I used to be a feminine and didn’t know what I’m speaking about, I wouldn’t shut the ones offers.”
When Castonguay, who has finished 9 years of faculty, is requested a few occupation as an agent, she tells them it’s a difficult industry, and that might be true whether or not you might be male or feminine.
“You’re at the highway the entire time,” Castonguay mentioned. “When recruiting avid gamers, you win greater than you lose. That’s one thing it’s important to be able for and be sturdy sufficient to handle. Other people see brokers and say, ‘What a glamorous existence’, however they haven’t observed them sleep of their vehicles years ahead of.”
Castonguay has hopes. “In 15 years, I am hoping I will be able to be sitting at the once a year agent assembly and there might be greater than 20 girls in there with me,” mentioned Castonguay. “I imagine girls can convey so much to the game as a result of we’ve got a distinct point of view.”
And a purpose.
“What I am hoping,” says Castonguay, “is that you just do a tale on me as a result of I’m the most productive agent within the industry, now not as a result of I’m the one girl within the industry.”