Hockey Snapshots

Hockey Snapshot: Reagan Carey

by Colleen Degnan

November 20, 2016

Learning to play hockey in her Chicago neighborhood at the age of six, Reagan Carey had no idea her future would be so interwoven with the sport she has now devoted her whole life to. Although at that young age all Carey cared about was stopping her brother’s shot, getting thrown in the net began her long, passionate relationship with the sport she went onto play collegiately and then incorporate into her work life. Carey found success with the sport, but had to step out of her comfort zone to do so. Moving around a lot as a kid, Carey exposed herself to different hockey markets and the various skill sets amongst boys and girls. While living in Kentucky in high school, Carey played on a boys’ team there while also playing for the Ohio Flames to learn the landscape of girls’ hockey. “I did not know where I stood in girls’ hockey” Carey said. “I had to learn how my skills compared to other girls in the sport.” This learning curve included more than just hockey skill for Carey, but also how the market was going to adjust to a very competitive female hockey player. “Moving around and playing in different markets served me well seeing the traditional and nontraditional ones” Carey said. “I saw which ones were more progressive and forward of girls playing and some more resistant. It shows that you really love the sport because you hear a lot of different people telling me I shouldn’t be playing.”

Carey’s skill certainly competed with other girls, while her passion defiantly carried her well beyond any resistance as she went on to play Division 1 hockey at Colby College. Although she was able to keep playing hockey, it was not an easy process. “It can can be frustrating and disappointing in a lot of ways” Carey said. “Ultimately you just learn a lot and get a lot of experience and realize how much you love the sport and see how you overcome those things.” Carey’s love for the sport prevailed while playing in college and after as she incorporated hockey into her professional career. Although she studied sociology planning to continue on to law school, Carey held summer internships with the an NHL team in Atlanta and ultimately accepted a job in sports marketing. “I always wanted to do marketing or law and being sports minded my opportunities in those summers really opened me up to all the opportunities out there” Carey said. “At the time, I think I was probably five years ahead of the excitement and awareness about sports in general but especially women in sports.” Although Carey thought she was premature to sports media, her success in the professional world is remarkable. Working her way up the marketing world, Carey has worked in fan development, youth marketing and much more which has lead her to her current role as Director of USA women’s ice hockey. Managing the women’s national team, olympic team and overseeing U-18 national teams and developmental programs Carey still has a huge presence in hockey just from a different aspect. “Hockey is a sport that continues to grow for everyone involved” Carey said. “If you look at the first women’s hockey in the olympics to now, the growth is exponential. With the professional leagues transforming it’s my hope to see more women’s games on television and really highlighting how phenomenal of role models for young hockey players these women are.” Carey believes the growth of hockey is exciting for boys and girls and how many different platforms there are now out there for young players. Looking back at how much the sport itself has progressed from when she played is impressive Carey added. “Although the game has changed, it still takes true dedication and the ones at top see that it takes doing the right thing not just when they want to but that they need to all the time” Carey said. “If you don’t love what you’re doing it’s not going to be an easy process, and you go to find the things that you love spending time working on. Obviously the ones that are at the top of our sport absolutely love playing hockey!”

Carey knows hockey will always be a part of her life as it has been since she can remember. “Since the age of six it has been pretty important to me” Carey said. “And you know, I have some unfinished business on some family pond hockey so I’m sure those will go on for a few decades.”


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