Blackhawks’ Meghan Hunter continues rapid ascent with GM assistant upgrade

Megan Hunter’s dizzying array of job responsibilities isn’t the most apt for balancing work and life.

“It’s a way of life,” she said. “You wake up in the middle of the night when you need to jot things down, or email yourself to remember. Or if not, you won’t sleep. Or you just don’t sleep. [anyway] Because it’s all on your mind.”

But for the Black Hawks, Hunter’s ability to get along so well made them an invaluable – if sleep-deprived – part of General Manager Kyle Davidson’s new, restructured front office.

Hunter was named assistant general manager of Hawks hockey operations earlier this summer, having climbed the ladder quickly since stepping on board as former executive assistant to General Motors Stan Bowman in 2016.

She claims it was a “fairly smooth” transition from her previous role as a hockey manager. But it does mean that she oversees quite a few employees in addition to her other duties, which is an incredibly long list.

Hunter manages the salary cap space and budget for the Hawks’ hockey operations, ensuring their roster meets the cap daily and that no transaction—trading, signing, recalling, injured reserve assignment, etc.—alter that. It supervises and maintains the papers required for each of these transactions. It acts as the primary liaison between the Hawks and the NHL office in connection with these transactions.

If that wasn’t enough, she also oversees team, player and security services — vague descriptions of tasks ranging from helping new players’ families find homes, cars, doctors and more in Chicago to creating contingency action plans for every yard the Hawks visits.

“I really enjoy having a lot of variety and [that] There is something different every day, because I definitely never get bored. “I take detailed notes. I have a lot of calendar reminders. I’ve been doing this for a long time, multitasking and juggling many different things.”

Megan Hunter has quickly climbed inside the front office of the Black Hawks since joining in 2016.

Chicago Blackhawks

So how can you do that?

“There are a lot of people, a lot of hands on board, to make sure that happens,” she explained. “Day by day, especially through COVID and all, things are going to change in a drop of a dime and you have to react to it.

“I’m going to skate before the game and see what the injuries are like, or who might look great all week that you might want to try for a particular game. Then I had a conversation between myself and Kyle, the assistant general manager, as we analyze the next steps we want to take to get ready for the game Once we know, it’s [about] Putting everything in place and communicating with our travel logistics and equipment personnel [and] Medical personnel. It is a collaboration across many departments. And then I just try to put everything together at the end and make sure it gets sent correctly.”

Her strong relationship with Davidson also helps. He followed a similar path through the hockey operations positions (before he became general manager) that she owned, and during most of the joint five years they worked under Bowman, their roles were so similar that they worked together regularly on paperwork.

So far, Davidson and Hunter talk regularly throughout the day. Hunter’s voice and input into key front-office decisions, including the shaky deals Hawks executed this summer, should not be overlooked.

“Not only do we work well together, but I think too [Kyle] “A friend, too,” she said. “It is very easy and comfortable to be able, if I have a question about something, to work on it and talk through everything. It is just constant communication, constant open dialogue about possible scenarios or things to come.”

Hunter has done some amateur scouting as well, drawing on her relationships with the OHL Knights of London — her uncles, longtime NHL stars Dale and Mark Hunter, are Knights co-owners — and traveling across the Midwest to personally see prospects the Falcons would consider recruiting for. rebuild them.

A reconstruction that, by the way, you see eye to eye with Davidson.

“It will take some time,” she admitted. “You have to get good assets in the draft, you have to get them in the first round. It’s kind of the reason we did what we did this year, to start rebuilding now. But you have to strip it so you can improve. We are in it for the long term.”

And so does Hunter, having now achieved a career height that few women in hockey have ever achieved. She is one of only six women assistant general managers in NHL history, but five of those six were promoted to their positions in 2022, illustrating how times are finally beginning to change for the better in terms of gender equality in the NHL franchises.

Emily Castongway, the new assistant general manager at Canucks, accidentally played Hunter in 2005-06 at Niagara University, where Hunter landed her first assistant coaching job after playing her career in Wisconsin, and they exchanged several phone calls this summer. New assistant at Maple Leafs GM Hayley Wickenheiser played on the Canadian women’s team that Hunter managed from 2010 to 2016 as well. It is a cohesive group.

“Acting is important, so if I can be a role model — or just some encouragement — for some young girls looking to get involved in the hockey runs, that is very special,” Hunter said. “It’s something I don’t take lightly. It’s really cool. After I got out of college, I didn’t really see a lot of women working in hockey operations. So to be at this point in my career, I’m really excited about it.”

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