The Winnipeg Jets’ new assistant coach is a landmark hire in the sport. She has become the first Indigenous woman to scout for an NHL team and will be one of two women on her Hawks staff. Lacquette, who previously worked as player development coordinator with Team Canada’s Women’s National Curling Championship squad, says she learned from hockey-obsessed grandparents that “the game taught life skills.”
Brigette Lacquette is an Indigenous woman who has broken barriers in the world of scouting and hockey. She was the first Indigenous woman to scout for a team in the NHL and now she has been hired by the Chicago Blackhawks. Read more in detail here: chicago hockey team.
EDMONTON, AB, CANADA — Brigette Lacquette was skeptical when she initially received a telegram from the Chicago Blackhawks.
It was, and it came at the ideal moment.
Lacquette was recruited by the Blackhawks this year, making her the first Indigenous woman to scout for an NHL club.
Lacquette is no stranger to making history, as she was the first First Nations woman to play hockey for Canada in a Winter Olympics in 2018. Despite winning a silver medal, the defender was left off Canada’s Olympic squad for 2022.
“Just with anything in life,” Lacquette told The Canadian Press, “I had to go through certain difficulties psychologically and emotionally during the summer.”
“This work has kept me occupied, and I now have something to look forward to, as well as something I want to succeed at, improve at every day, and give my best to. It turns out that I like this profession.”
Over the course of six years, the 29-year-old Ojibwa from Mallard, Manitoba, competed in three world championships for the national women’s team, capturing two silver and one bronze medal.
Brigette Lacquette is no stranger to creating history, as she was the first First Nations woman to compete in a Winter Olympics for Canada. USA TODAY Sports/Kyle Terada
Lacquette received a seemingly strange message from Blackhawks assistant general manager Ryan Stewart, who supervises pro evaluation, on her Facebook page in May.
Lacquette said, “I had to Google him because, to be honest, I didn’t believe it was true.”
Following a COVID-19 downsizing, the Blackhawks were trying to refill their scouting personnel, according to Stewart.
He said, “We were looking for more varied… simply more perspectives, more different folks to bring into the fold here.” “So I was doing a lot of research and doing other things when her name came up and I started looking into it.”
“Her hockey knowledge and character as a person were praised by everyone I spoke with, from old college coaches to teammates. If you have hockey sense as a player, that transfers really well to scouting, in my opinion.”
Lacquette was still waiting to hear whether she would be asked to test out for the 2022 Olympic squad at the moment.
She said, “I promised him I’d let him know next week.” “I thought to myself, ‘That’s really very awesome, like that’s wild,’ but my concentration was on hockey.”
“I didn’t get centralized, so I enquired more about the position. After speaking with higher-ups, I was given a position as a professional scout. They informed me that my work was essentially observing all of the youngsters in the Western Hockey League who were picked by the NHL.”
Lacquette’s area has extended into British Columbia from the three prairie provinces.
“October was a difficult month for me. “I had no idea what to anticipate,” Lacquette remarked. “I was looking forward to driving down to Lethbridge to attend a hockey game, but then I thought to myself, ‘What am I looking for?’
“I’ve spent my whole life playing hockey, so observing the game and breaking down components of it, as well as the players’ talents and grading them and writing reports on them, the more I see how they’re progressing or not improving.”
Stewart said, ” “I’ve been blown away by her reports, and she understands the finer points of transferring a player to the pro level, and then, obviously, to the NHL level. She’s rapidly mastered that type of range here.”
Lacquette said she completed her studies on Chicago’s emblem and Black Hawk, a Thunder Clan chief who fought the annexation of territory belonging to his people, since she was aware of the friction between sports teams and Indigenous logos and identities.
Lacquette said, “They’re commemorating Black Hawk, who is the logo.” “They do a lot of work with First Nations communities and conduct a lot of land acknowledgement. They have some information on their website that they share with those who aren’t sure what they’re talking about.”
Lacquette discussed accepting the position with her mother, Anita, of the Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan, and her father, Terance, of the O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation in Manitoba.
“My father was overjoyed. ‘This position is something a lot of people fight their entire lives for and don’t obtain,’ he remarked, according to Lacquette. “In terms of the logo, they are aware of it. I did tell them about it.
“I can see both sides of the argument. There are clearly a lot of individuals who oppose it. There was one female who made a huge issue out of my obtaining a job, claiming she didn’t support me.”
According to Stewart, Lacquette was the most qualified candidate for the post.
He said, “She has an outstanding hockey mentality, period.” “There’s a long line of individuals who want to be scouts,” she says, “but we hand-pick and are extremely careful about who we choose as scouts.”
Along with Cammi Granato (Seattle Kraken), Blake Bolden (Los Angeles Kings), and Meghan Hunter, Lacquette became part of a tiny group of female NHL scouts (Blackhawks).
Lacquette and Bolden, who will be the first Black female NHL scout in 2020, exchanged work notes through direct messaging. Lacquette was the first Indigenous woman to break through this barrier.
“It’s fantastic that I get to be the first,” Lacquette said, “but I think a lot of these kinds of professions and chances are going to open up a lot for a lot of the other NHL clubs.” “I mean, this is the moment.”
Lacquette continues to be a member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association.
One December weekend in Calgary, she scouted the Canadian junior men’s selection camp and played for the PWHPA against the Canadian women in the same venue.
She isn’t sure what she wants to do with her playing career in the future.
“I’m simply taking things one day at a time.” Lacquette stated, “I’m not planning too far ahead.” “It’s still fun to skate and practice with the PWHPA.”
“I’m not sure how I’m going to go from here. I’m now concentrating on my work. It provides me with a fresh objective.”
- chicago blackhawks name change