On March 30, the NWHL announced that former Toronto Six assistant coach Lisa Haley is the league’s new Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations.
Haley is stepping into the role that was previously held by Michelle Picard. The role was first held by Hayley Moore, who worked under previous NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan Kearney before becoming Team President of the Boston Pride and later Vice President, Hockey Operations of the AHL. Picard has moved on to work with RISE — a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice, and improve race relations.
In the league’s press release announcing the news, Haley’s listed duties include facilitating the annual player draft, scheduling, player development, managing and establishing key partnerships, and overseeing and building on the league’s relationships with national governing bodies and collegiate hockey programs.
“My career with the NWHL is very young however this season as a member of the Toronto Six coaching staff my eyes were opened to the potential of this league,” said Haley. “I am very grateful to continue my involvement and highly motivated to be part of the future of a viable professional women’s hockey league. It’s inspiring to work with such a strong leadership group of women across the NWHL.”
Haley has extensive coaching experience with the Canadian women’s national team and is currently the head coach of the Ryerson Rams in USports. She also has experience coaching the Hungarian women’s national team and will be leading them from behind the bench at the upcoming IIHF Worlds in her home province of Nova Scotia.
“Lisa’s impressive hockey background is filled with accomplishments in leadership and player development roles,” Commissioner Tyler Tumminia said in the league’s release. “The entire NWHL stands to benefit from her influence as we move toward our seventh season and the continued growth of the league and women’s hockey.”
It will be interesting to see whether or not Haley’s experience with the Hungarian national team can establish a pipeline for more European talent joining the NWHL. It’s also worth noting that all three women who have held this role have hands-on experience in the NWHL. Given the chaos that was the 2020-21 season, it’s hard to predict who we’ll see in June’s draft, an announcement Haley slid into her welcome video, but that will definitely be an event to circle on the calendar.