By Tom Pepper
The first head coach in Ryerson Rams women’s hockey history reached yet another major milestone in her career late last month. The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) appointed Lisa Haley as senior vice president of hockey operations on March 30, just two days prior to her 10-year anniversary behind the Rams’ bench.
Haley continues to play a pivotal role in women’s hockey as she now takes on the responsibility of organizing and managing the NWHL’s player drafts, development systems, schedules, partnerships and more. In addition to her NWHL duties, she will remain head coach for Ryerson.
“Coaching at the varsity level in U Sports is based heavily in hockey operations,” said Haley. She added that managing people, rules and regulations and seasonal planning are all part of her duties with the Rams.
“It’s been a really valuable experience from Ryerson to be able to apply it in this new position.”
Building on her incredible resumé, which includes a gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and silver medals at the 2011 and 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championships, Haley begins her new role with the NWHL immediately, succeeding Deputy Commissioner Michelle Picard.
Haley has spent 14 seasons as head coach of the St. Mary’s Huskies and an additional eight seasons with Ryerson, giving her a wealth of firsthand leadership experience heading into her new role with the NWHL. In this next chapter of her career, she looks to help build a sustainable future for professional women’s hockey.
“Knowing what the job takes with the NWHL, it’s not intimidating at all, knowing it’s something I do on a day-to-day basis already”
“My hope is that when players are graduating out of the U.S. if they’re wanting to and they’re at the level, they have the opportunity to continue to play hockey at a professional level,” said Haley. “Whether that’s through the existing NWHL league or if I’m a part of reshaping what that looks like in the future, then I’m excited. I also feel a responsibility to be a part of that growth.”
Despite her new endeavour, coaching the Rams remains Haley’s top priority. As the only head coach in program history, she adds a unique level of management and team-building experience to the NWHL’s front office.
“Ryerson’s my major focus,” said Haley. “Knowing what the job takes with the NWHL, it’s not intimidating at all, knowing it’s something I do on a day-to-day basis already.”