Kori Cheverie reflects fondly on the conversations she had with her grandfather growing up in Nova Scotia, where he encouraged her to believe anything was attainable in sports.
First woman to play for the Toronto Blue Jays? Sure. Hoist the Stanley Cup over her head while representing the Toronto Maple Leafs? Go for it.
Though doing so as a player is now out of the question, Cheverie’s gender-breaking aspirations appear far more achievable today to the 34-year-old, who has spent the past five years chipping away at hockey’s male-only coaching barrier.
In 2017, Cheverie became the first female assistant coach of a men’s hockey team at the Canadian university level (at Ryerson). This month, after serving as an assistant on the Canadian women’s Olympic championship team, she completed a stint as Hockey Canada’s first woman behind the bench of a men’s team at the Under-18 world championships.
“It’s kind of funny, looking back and reflecting on those conversations as a kid, because I am the first to do quite a a few things on the men’s side of hockey,” Cheverie said, recalling the talks with her grandfather, Jack Rehill. “They speak to the limitless childhood that I had growing up, and what I was told I could be capable of.”
And she’s not done dreaming.
Cheverie’s ascension coupled with the growing number of women entering pro hockey management and developmental roles has rapidly sped the timetable on when — not if — there will be a woman working behind an NHL bench.
As much as Pittsburgh Penguins president Brian Burke believes the glass ceiling should have been shattered yesterday, he balances his impatience by noting the inroads the league is making to blow up its image as an old boys club.
“I think it’s basically we’ve been bound by our past, which is white people…