Thursday, 28 May 2015

Erika Vanderveer's time at The Hockey News represents potential careers for women in hockey

In a time when the women's game is working towards finding methods to establish a living wage, another factor deserving of consideration is jobs for women in hockey. As Erika Vanderveer plans the next stages of her professional career, her time at The Hockey News represented the potential for female hockey players to obtain good careers in hockey. Working as the Art Director for the last three years (and another three as a Designer), Vanderveer admirably balanced her employment with the popular periodical while standing between the pipes for numerous clubs at the CWHL level.

During her playing career, she held the rare distinction of having played for three different CWHL teams in the Greater Toronto Area (of note, she stood between the pipes for the Brampton Thunder, Burlington Barracudas and Toronto Furies). In addition, she was also a member of the Boston Blades during their inaugural season.

Quite possibly the greatest milestone in her career at The Hockey News was the opportunity to work on the landmark Women's Hockey Issue, released in the autumn of 2012. Featuring Winter Games gold medalist Tessa Bonhomme on the cover (who played with Vanderveer during the 2012-13 Toronto Furies season), the fact that a women's hockey player such as Vanderveer also worked on the magazine added to the unique distinction of this issue.

Of note, Vanderveer's early years with The Hockey News also invovled a series of superlative blogs.  It not only reflected her acumen towards the game, providing great relevance, but it added a nice human touch, welcoming nascent fans into a wonderful and sometimes under appreciated world where women earned the chance to become hockey heroes in a traditionally male dominated field.

As such, Vanderveer's work in media was complemented by another teammate and dear friend who was also working hard towards gender equality. Amber Bowman, who played with Vanderveer at Ohio State and with the Furies, is a heroic firefighter who has carved a dynasty in the World Fire Fighter Competitions. Along with Vanderveer, the two showed great ambition in their effort to audition for The Amazing Race Canada.   

Their efforts have not only contributed to women's hockey players becoming role models for young girls, but it has shown solid examples of how women can still make worthwhile contributions once they hang up their skates. As a side note, there are other women making significant inroads. Former Furies teammates such as Kori Cheverie (working with Ryerson University) and Rebecca Davies (working for Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment) are two shining examples. Former Robert Morris Colonials star player Cobina Delaney works for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, the parent company of numerous sporting properties in the nation's capital, including the Ottawa 67's.

Current realities still dictate that the limited resources of both the CWHL and the NWHL makes it difficult to have a front office akin to their male counterparts, limiting opportunities for now. Should both leagues continue to grow, the next generation may see opportunities to expand and employ former players in management or scouting capacities.

While the launch of her own website sees Vanderveer's entrepreneurial spirit branch out, her contributions to The Hockey News were not only observed with keen interest but appreciated by those in the women's hockey community. Should the day come that the AHL and/or the NHL hire women to serve as general managers, scouting directors or head coaches, those women may reflect on Vanderveer's work as the encouraging influence to believe such dreams of equality were realized.

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