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Five Female Candidates for an Assistant GM Position with the Sabres

More women are being hired for NHL front-office roles.

UNE senior attending NFL forum about women in professional football Staff photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Over the past year, we’ve seen multiple successful, qualified women hired as assistant general managers for NHL teams. As of writing, there are six women currently serving in assistant GM roles across the league - all incredibly skilled, knowledgeable individuals more than deserving of their positions. That’s six women more than there ever were before, and as a woman in sports - and a woman who enjoys sports - it’s wonderful to see. But it also means there’s still plenty of room for more women to make the jump to front office roles.

The front office of the Buffalo Sabres organization is largely male. Aside from Kim Pegula, there really isn’t a woman working at a high-level in the organization and, as such, who could conceivably make the jump right up to an assistant GM position. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, especially if you’re willing to look outside the organization. (Which is not a bad idea!)

For the record, in case you’re not familiar, here are the six women serving as assistant GMs:

Before I dive into my five (okay, six) women who would be great candidates for the position, I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the misogyny that often comes up around these discussions. If you’re reading this and thinking something along the lines of “I don’t care if it’s a woman, just hire the PERSON who is most qualified!” - I ask you to consider that there are many, many women who are qualified, but who are often overlooked due to the old boys’ club mentality that runs rampant in sports. There are so many factors at play that often lead to women who are qualified being completely disregarded as an afterthought, or not even considered in the first place. It’s not just front office work, but even when it comes to other areas (like as an athletic trainer!), it’s the same story.

Anyways: if you’re tempted to make any sort of misogynistic comment here.... don’t.

If the Buffalo Sabres were looking to add to their front office staff, here are a few local-ish women who would be strong candidates worth considering:

Celeste Brown

Brown, 30, played for RIT between 2011-2015. During her time there, she saw the team through its transition from D-III (her frehsman year) to D-I and also served as captain in her senior year. From there, she went pro, skating for the NWHL’s New York Riveters and Connecticut Whale. Her coaching career began in tandem with her playing career, as she served as a volunteer assistant coach at Manhattanville.

After hanging up the skates, she joining the coaching staff at Connecticut College, then Penn State. In 2020, she took the helm as head coach at her alma mater. She also has previous experience as a skills coach at multiple USA hockey development camps and as a head coach at the Summer Hockey School in Skedsmo, Norway.

Meghan Chayka

Chayka, 37, has extensive experience working with analytics and data science in sports. She is the co-founder of Stathletes and has presented at a number of analytics and sports conferences, including the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Her work has been used by CBC, ESPN, the PHF and more.

Chayka has been named one of Sportsnet’s 25 Most Powerful Women in Hockey and as a top candidate to serve as an NHL GM by The Hockey News. She holds degrees in business administration, economics and finance and previously worked as a financial analyst. She’s also a Data Scientist in Residence at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto... oh, and she’s a Buffalo Bills fan.

Rhea Coad

Coad, 27, has served as head coach of the Buffalo Beauts since 2021, following two seasons as an assistant/associate coach with the team. She also previously served as an assistant coach at Nazareth.

Prior to that, the Wheatfield native played four seasons of D-III collegiate hockey at SUNY Canton between 2013 and 2017. She’s used her platform to speak out about mental health and has appeared in a few Sabres’ community promotional videos over the past year.

Andrea Gosper

Gosper currently serves as Player Personnel Coordinator for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, a position she’s held since May 2021. She works in evaluating players, compiling data, assisting scouts and communicating with agents and players. She previously served as a scouting intern with the Bills from 2019-2021.

Before coming to Buffalo, Gosper coached in both football and softball. More recently, she participated in the NFL’s Women’s Careers in Football Forum. She is one of the highest-level women working in the Bills organization, and if she ever wanted to make the jump to hockey, an assistant GM position with the Sabres could be a logical option.

Jordin Pardoski

Pardoski, 28, has spent the last five years as an assistant coach at the collegiate level. She is heading into her second season with RIT, having joined the Tigers from Brown. Before jumping to the D-I level, she spent two seasons as an assistant at Elmira College. She has a wealth of experience across the board, including with recruiting, team operations and player skill development.

Prior to making her debut behind the bench, Pardoski played four years at Penn State from 2012-2016. She wore a letter for three seasons, including serving as team captain for her junior and senior years.


Maybe still playing, but...

Emily Matheson’s playing career is still tentative right now, but if at some point she retires and wanted to go into a front office role, she could be a great option for the Sabres. The 29-year-old is a Buffalo native with years of playing experience, including at the collegiate, pro and Olympic levels. She captained Boston College and the Buffalo Beauts and won gold at three World Championships, as well as the 2018 Winter Olympics. After taking time off to start a family, Matheson was invited to USA Hockey’s Women’s National Festival this year but didn’t make the final roster for Worlds.