Women in Sports and Tech Spotlight - Karell Emard
Throughout the month of March, we’ll be putting the spotlight on some of the extraordinary women at Sportlogiq and will be sharing their stories with you. These women play a pivotal role in the success of our company and know what it takes to perform at the highest level.
The Sports and Technology industries are at their best when women are involved and we’re here to show you why.
Being French-Canadian it would have been an easier path to stay in Quebec and compete at the university level. However, despite not being 100% fluent in English I decided to go a different route and take the SATs and apply to a handful of University Programs in the United States. I was pleasantly surprised to receive multiple offers from top-tier programs but ultimately decided to commit to St. Lawrence University where I played for 5 seasons.
After a surreal college experience, I accepted a coaching position at Colgate University because it was the logical thing for me to do at the time. I was no longer on the National Team, and I was getting the opportunity to make money while working in a world I loved. I really excelled in this new role and even had the chance to coach at different events with Hockey Canada. I do not regret the decision I made back then, but I am very proud of the one I made to go back to playing and put coaching aside to follow my dream to play hockey at a professional level.
It was a bit of a culture shock to be honest. Coming from one of the top hockey programs in the United States where players benefited from professional-level training, equipment, meals, travel, etc. to having to pretty much fend for yourself was a difficult adjustment.
From solely having to focus on my game, I had to find a job, squeeze my off-ice workouts around my work schedule, and pay out of my pocket to continue to play at an elite level. Women’s hockey faces a difficult reality, in that we have to tell most girls that their NCAA experience is as good as it gets.
I hadn’t really thought about how much of an impact my NCAA and pro hockey careers have had on my time at Sportlogiq until recently. The skills I learned from my time playing and coaching have really given me everything I need to successfully lead Sportlogiq’s hockey product, iCE, and bring it to the next level.
When I communicate with our NHL clients and they realize where I’ve played and that path I took they don’t just see me as a woman or a numbers person. They see me as someone who understands both sides of the game better than anyone.
Personally, Sportlogiq is helping me with my eventual transition from pro-athlete to retirement. The fact that I can come into work every day and continue to work on new ways to innovate in the game I love is the next best thing to playing.
Professionally, in the hockey analytics community, there is a disconnect between the traditionalists and the new era of analysts that are constantly looking at metrics and insights to better understand the game. My goal is to facilitate communication between both sides.
Traditionalists that rely on their gut and the eye test, as well as analysts that rely too heavily on data, are missing part of the picture. Our pro tool, iCE, is at its best when it’s being used by both these sides and it’s my job to make sure it caters to every member of a professional hockey organization.
Plain and simple, LISTEN TO YOURSELF.
Don’t let the industry or society tell you what to do. The roads we take are all different but it’s important to keep your eye on the prize. Sports are a better place when women are involved. We bring a different perspective and new ideas to the table so don’t ever let someone talk you out of an opportunity to chase your dream.
Don’t ever second-guess yourself. You need to be confident in your choices and believe that who you are as a person, athlete, or woman is more than enough to take on these tasks or responsibilities. Follow your gut!
For those not aware, the PWHPA is an association of players that banded together after the CWHL folded a few years back. The goal of our association is:
To promote, advance, and support a single, viable professional women’s ice hockey league in North America that showcases the greatest product of women’s professional ice hockey in the world.
To provide a united voice to players advocating for the creation of a sustainable professional league.
To collaborate with like-minded organizations to make hockey more inclusive for women today and for the girls of the next generation.
We’re also fighting for equality and opportunity. Professional Women’s Hockey players have earned the right to be treated just like men’s pro players. We put in the same amount of blood, sweat, and tears as NHL players but the compensation and support is extremely different. All we want is the opportunity to compete at the highest level and be supported while doing so.
Imagine a young female hockey player dreaming about making 10 or more professional teams rather than one national team? That is what we want for future generations.
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