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USA Hockey great Cammi Granato blazes trail in NHL

Olympic gold medalist and Hall of Fame hockey star Cammi Granato made history this year as the first-ever female pro scout hired in the NHL with the Seattle Kraken.

DENVER — When a new NHL team splashed onto the scene this summer, a new frontier was also conquered. The Seattle Kraken hired Cammi Granato as its pro scout for the league's expansion team, making her the first-ever female to hold such a position.

Granato, however, had no idea she was making history when she accepted the job.

"There was a lot of media coverage on it and I was just like, 'wow, I didn't realize this,'" she said.

Nor did she understand the impact it would have on young women aspiring to work in sports management.

"And then I actually understood when a young girl in a crowd at a panel I was on in Seattle asked how she can become a pro scout, I was like, 'wow,'" she said. "Now I think young women know that that's an option, where before I didn't even know that was an option, so that's where the change happens and the dreams can happen and the wants and the desires. Women can take jobs that are traditionally male jobs. Women are qualified."

Granato was used to breaking breaking barriers. In 2010, she was one of the first women ever to be inducted into the International Hockey Hall of Fame, alongside her Canadian rival (and close friend) Angela James.

"And it felt like all of the struggles that we went through with trying to be hockey players and not being defined as women playing hockey, but hockey players, it felt like that went away when we went into the Hall," she said. "It just felt like we belonged to a club of elite players."

Forever enshrined into hockey's history, Granato was the captain of the first gold medal team in 1998, greatly influencing the next generation of female skaters.

"It was really special when the 2018 team won because it was 20 years since we had won and it was a long journey to get back on the podium," she said. "I didn't really understand the word pioneer when we were playing, but I think as we get older, we understand what people were meaning as we were the first to pave the way."

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