A giant of hockey history lies in the Stingers archives
A look back at one of the G.O.A.T of women’s hockey and her time at Concordia
Not many schools have ties to the all-time leading scorer in the United States women’s hockey team’s history, but Concordia University is one of them.
That title belongs to Catherine “Cammi” Granato––a Hall of Famer and member of the Concordia women’s hockey program from 1994-1997.
After losing eligibility in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Granato made the move to Canada to pursue a master’s degree in sports administration at Concordia. Amongst the things she packed for her trek north of the border was her winning pedigree and exceptional scoring ability.
The Downers Grove, Illinois native powered the Stingers to three consecutive provincial championships in her time dawning the maroon and gold. In just 123 games, she scored 178 goals and added 148 assists for a whopping 346 points. Granato was also named Concordia Athlete of the Year in 1995 and Most Valuable Player in Quebec for the 1995-96 season.
Prior to her time as a Stinger, Granato acted as one of the founding members of the U.S. women’s hockey team and led them to a silver medal at the inaugural Women’s World Championship in 1990. From there, she enjoyed an illustrious 15-year career representing the stars and stripes, which included gold medals at the Olympics, the World Championships and the Four Nations Cup.
While Granato is often recognized for what she did on the ice, her resume outside of the rink is equally as impressive. She is a trailblazer, a founder, and an influencer whose efforts to grow the women’s game are everlasting.
Julie Chu, current head coach of the Concordia women’s hockey team, is one of those who’s felt the effects of Granato’s presence. Chu played with Granato on the national team in the early stages of her career and looked up to her captain as a mentor.
“She was a completely dynamic player but [also] a dynamic person, and a great leader in the way you want to carry yourself all the time,” said Chu. “I was really fortunate that Cammi was willing to take me under her wing and kind of guide me and teach me.”
The 49-year-old broke barriers in just about every Hall of Fame the sport has to offer. In May 2008, Granato––alongside Geraldine Heaney and Angela James––became the first female to be inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. A few months later, she became the first woman elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. In 2010, she completed the hat-trick, becoming one of the first two women––alongside Angela James––to have their name enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“She helped break down those barriers and became that visible role model for us to be able to see and want to be,” said Chu, who recalls Granato telling her that her time at Concordia was some of the most fun hockey she played.
When she retired from her playing days, Granato entered the broadcast industry as a reporter for the National Broadcasting Company’s NHL coverage. Now, Granato can be found at National Hockey League arenas around the league working as a scout for the NHL’s newest edition, the Seattle Kraken; and yes, she was the first female to break down that barrier, too.
“She's able to be successful and go into these different realms really because she's so passionate about it,” said Chu. “That's really, I think, driven her success at all these different avenues and will continue to make her successful.”
Granato’s impact on not only women’s hockey but the sport as a whole is undeniable. She helped pave the way for young girls to follow and provided them with a foundation to continue building toward what hopefully becomes a much larger market in sports.
“Now what I see in our world of sports is we have these strong female athletes that are being more outspoken, having confidence to be leaders in different realms; but you have their male counterparts being supportive of them and having this intertwined connection,” said Chu. “Without what Cammi did, and those veterans did in the States at those times, I don't think that that would have happened or grown in the same way.”