Kent Hughes | An old ally of women’s hockey

In the mid-1990s, an American hockey player dressed as the Concordia University Stingers caught the eye.

Posted at 8:00 AM

Simon Olivier Lorang

Simon Olivier Lorang

The mid-20s striker has outrageously dominated the NCAA the previous four winters. However, despite three World Championships participations, she skated under relative anonymity.

However, a young man of her age appeared to the arena to talk to her. A recent law graduate, he claimed to represent athletes and offered his services. He had no idea that in front of him was the person who, in 2010, would become the first woman inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. And she had no idea she was talking to the future CEO of Montreal Canadiens.

At the end of the line, Cami Granato has only good words for Kent Hughes, her number one agent. She speaks without being asked of a “great, very clever man”, who opened doors for her, which, by her own admission, “hockey women had no access to at that time.”

Granato, now a professional scout for the Seattle Kraken, was one of the greatest stars of American hockey in the early 2000s.

The obvious explanation for him is his performance on the ice. Captain of the national team at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, she contributed to the United States’ surprising victory over the Canadian top candidate. She was also there in 2002 when eternal foes took revenge. Her six and 10-point goals in Salt Lake City remain among the best performances in the history of the American Women’s Program for a single tournament.

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The push from Kent Hughes also contributed significantly to his notoriety, and the main interested party says so without embarrassment. After the victory in Nagano, his agent went to look for potential sponsors. He did not hesitate to knock on the giants’ door.

AT&T, Nike, Chevrolet, and Visa, among others, answered the call. “It shattered the shadowy ceiling” that denied women great financial partners, says Granato. “It went above and beyond anything I could have imagined.”

Hughes also helped ensure that the entire US team benefited from this exposure.

Reluctance to say he “convinced” the majors to join the women’s hockey bandwagon, Granato prefers to point out that he changed the way these sponsors see women’s hockey.

At that time, our sport had no support. Nobody was interested in us. Kent believes in me, believes in women’s hockey. Never heard of it before.

Cami Agate

Although he was not an active player in the case, he also sided with the national team players when they took inspiration from their football counterparts, hired lawyers and tackled USA Hockey in 2000 to improve their working conditions.

It was a situation that was far from the norm at the time.

Cami Granato, who is still grateful 20 years later, says she is “very happy” that Hughes has taken over as general manager of the confinement complex. Even if the old ally suddenly became a competitor.

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