February 25, 2022

Former flag-bearer, Olympic gold medallist joins Growlers as first woman in ECHL history to coach | CBC News

Danielle Goyette is the first woman in league history to be the head coach of an ECHL team. (Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada)

The Newfoundland Growlers have added another new face behind the bench, bringing in Danielle Goyette to serve temporarily on the coaching staff after head coach Eric Wellwood.

Wellwood entered COVID-19 self-isolation earlier this week, making him ineligible for coaching duties. 

It’s not Goyette’s first time as a bench boss, but it is a first for the ECHL: Goyette is the first woman in league history to take the reins of a team as a coach.

“The people are so easy to work with, especially the coaching staff,” Goyette told CBC News on Friday.

“To be honest, I didn’t know I was the first female in the ECHL. I just found out when I landed yesterday…. For me, I was coming here because I wanted to come and help the team.”

Goyette joined the Growlers’ parent club, the Toronto Maple Leafs, last May to serve as director of player development. Before that she was the head coach of the University of Calgary Dinos women’s hockey program, winning a national championship in 2012.

Danielle Goyette is filling in behind head coach Eric Wellwood. Goyette joined the parent club, the Toronto Maple Leafs, in May as director of player development. (Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada)

She also served as an assistant coach for Team Canada at the World Championships in 2012 and again at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, where Canada won gold.

“I think with the Olympics having women’s hockey, the World Championships … we have more people watching,” Goyette said. 

“It’s growing the sport. If you look in the rink now we have so many females watching the game. It’s time to expand the game from the spectator side, but you can see it in the office and in the dressing room.” 

In her playing career Goyette suited up for 172 games for Canada’s National Women’s Team between 1992 and 2007.

In that span she amassed 219 points, along with winning eight IIHF World Women’s Championships gold medals and two Olympic gold medals — Salt Lake City in 2002 and Turin, Italy in 2006, where she was also Canada’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies.

The Growlers are back in action Friday and Saturday night against the Reading Royals at the Mary Brown’s Centre in St. John’s.

Goyette said she’s looking forward to seeing more of the city outside of only the rink and her hotel room during the team’s day off on Sunday.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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