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Leafs’ development staff now led by 2 women

The Toronto Maple Leafs promoted Hayley Wickenheiser — who already held the highest hockey operations role ever for a woman in the NHL.

Wickenheiser, a Hockey Hall of Famer, is now Toronto’s senior director of player development. The Leafs also hired another Hockey Hall of Famer, Danielle Goyette, as director of player development. That means the Maple Leafs’ development staff is now being led by two women.

In 2018, Toronto hired Noelle Needham to become the NHL’s first full-time female amateur scout. Needham left the organization in 2020 to become the assistant general manager of the Chicago Steel of the USHL.

Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, 35, is the youngest GM in the NHL.

“I just think the more diverse you can make your organization [the better] — and that’s just not a male and female thing,” Dubas told ESPN in 2019 after Needham and Wickenheiser were hired. “We did not make any of these hires looking for social credit.”

Dubas added: “If you’re only hiring white males — and I’m saying that as a white male — you’re probably leaving a lot on the table in terms of where your organization [is going] and how it can think, and how it can evolve and develop.”

Wickenheiser, a six-time Olympian with Canada and four-time Olympic gold medalist, recently completed medical school at the University of Calgary. She is 42.

Goyette, 55, is a former teammate of Wickenheiser’s and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Goyette had been serving as the head coach of the Calgary Dinos women’s hockey team since 2007.

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