This morning, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League announced that league co-founder Sami Jo Small has been hired as the next general manager of the Toronto Furies.
3-time Olympian and CWHL co-founder Sami Jo Small (@SamiJoSmall) has officially been announced as @TorontoCWHL's new General Manager! Read more ➡️ https://t.co/IzcJ9qEkOh #WeAreTheGame pic.twitter.com/R2XUfqJH7z— CWHL (@TheCWHL) June 11, 2018
Presumably this means that Small will no longer be available to the Furies as an option in goal, however this was not explicitly stated in the release and we’re not willing to write Sami Jo off until she says so.
If this is the end of her time in net, it caps a career that spans more than two decades, starting with the Stanford men’s ACHA team in 1996 (where, as an engineering student, she designed her own equipment), carrying on through three Olympic Games, five World Championships, and the 2014 Clarkson Cup. She is one of only a few women in the Triple Gold Club.
In the 2017-18 season Small made four appearances with Toronto, earning two wins, including a shutout against the Boston Blades in the final game of the season. She currently holds the CWHL records for wins and games played as a goalie.
As GM, she replaces Nicole Latreille, whose one year contract was not renewed in the off season. It’s not clear whether this was due to issues with Latreille (such as being unable to sign Toronto’s first round pick in 2017) or simply because Small felt it was time. As one of the co-founders of the league, it was widely expected that once she chose to hang up the skates, she’d have her pick of whatever front office job she wanted, whether with the Furies or with the league itself.
Off ice, Small has been active with the CWHLPA, and as a member of the CWHL board. She has also built a career as a professional speaker which has taken her across the country and around the world.
Her first job as GM would seem to be clear - the CWHL draft is in a few short months, and the Toronto Furies need a goalie or two!
As the CWHL draft approaches Annie will be taking a look at players we hope will enter the draft for Sami Jo (and Markham's GM Chelsea Purcell) to select.