We have over 100 people in our department between NHL Officials and Officiating Managers,
Manager of Officiating
National Hockey League (NHL)
The interview with Taryn Daneman was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.
Tell us about your role as the Manager of Officiating of the National Hockey League (NHL).
Work with lawyers in the USA and Canada to get work visas for the upcoming season and complete paperwork for new hires
Planning/ promoting the NHL Exposure Combine (Main point of contact for participants, hotel, rinks, and vendors)
Planning Training Camp for NHL Officials (Main point of contact for participants, hotel, rinks, guests and vendors)
Work with teams to plan Milestone/ retirement games
Main contact for officiating department on arranging rates for each new season
Coordinate with events department on outdoor/international games
Assist in the planning for the meetings for Off-Ice Officials
What does a typical day look like for you?
I find I have typical months as opposed to days as it depends what portion of the season we are in.
October-January: Season starts, so my time is spent finalizing invoices from training camp, ensuring all new hires have their work visas in order and all equipment needed for the season. I also look ahead to start to plan for any outdoor/International Games — for these, I ensure the officials working have hotel accommodations, and for the international games I work with events to organize transportation from airport to hotel to games and back to the hotel while in that country. We do on-ice ceremonies for officials who have worked 1000 or 1500 games. Early in the season, I collect the dates and cities for any official who will reach this milestone during the current season. They then get to select the city where they would like to work this game, and then I work with the teams on the logistics of the PA Announcement, and the gifts that will be given (often a signed Jersey or stick). Early December I start to work with the events department on arrangements for the Winter Classic.
February – April: As we are now past the midpoint of the season, we start to look towards last games for those retiring officials and preparing for playoffs. I organize a pre-playoff meeting for our managers, and then once they have begun, I focus on memos and hotels for our team and ensure they are all ready to go in each city.
May- July: As we enter the last two rounds of playoffs I start to focus more on the Combine and the next season, which includes any new hires or promotions.
August-September: Final preparations for Combine and Training Camp are being made as the two events both host over 100 people and are 2.5 weeks apart so, I like to be on top of both early on. Both include hotel lists, meals, ice rentals, equipment, apparel, team building activities, full agendas, arranging people to come in and do the testing.
You’re in charge of the NHL Exposure Combine – How does this combine shape and/or guide up-and-coming officials for a career in the NHL? What do you hope officials learn from this experience?
The NHL Exposure Combine was designed not only for those who have officiating experience and are trying to make it to the next level but also for individuals who have played at a high-level and are coming to the end of their playing career and are looking for ways to stay involved in the game.
The Combine is run over 3 days, and includes on- and off-ice testing, classroom sessions, and shortened hockey games so everyone has 4-5 chances to officiate over the course of the camp.
We bring in our NHL Scouting and Development Managers as well as representatives from other leagues. This allows not only our league, but other leagues below us to scout new talent, and fill gaps for the upcoming season.
The hope is that everyone who attends will continue to officiate and build up their resumes, and for those individuals who choose not to, we are just happy they came out and tried it.
For everyone else, we try to place them in different leagues depending on where they live and give them that experience. For others with experience, it allows us to take a closer look at them and monitor development.
Do you develop a personal bond with officials? What are your interactions like with officials on a day-to-day basis?
I have been lucky enough to be welcomed into the officiating family with open arms. We have over 100 people in our department between NHL Officials and Officiating Managers, so I interact with some more than others but have a very good relationship with everyone.
Day-to-day interactions are mainly with my boss and 1-2 of the managers as we try to plan out what is coming up in the season.
Hockey can be a male-dominated sport. How did you land a career with the NHL? What advice can you offer women looking to break into male-dominated fields in the sports industry?
I have been fortunate enough to have had some amazing female role models over the years who have really helped me shape my career. They encouraged me to never give up and were always happy to introduce me to someone else or give great advice on next steps. I also knew it was important to always remain relevant, so would often follow up with people/organizations I had volunteered with roughly 3-4 times a year.
My sports career started in Grade 9 when I joined the Athletic Council. It began as a way to get out of class to be a scorekeeper for men’s volleyball and basketball. I quickly realized however that this is what I wanted to do for a career.
By grade 12, I was the Co-President of Athletic Council and was determined to continue working in sports when I got to university. In my 4 years of university, I managed the Men’s Hockey team for 3 years, and the Women’s Hockey team for 1. I also co-founded an on-campus spirit group that would help support and promote Varsity Athletics.
After graduation, I volunteered with the Kitchener Rangers, Honda Indy and worked for the Toronto Blue Jays (Jr. Jay Saturday’s) before landing an Internship with the NHL. After a 4-month internship, I applied for a Sports Management program.
It was after this program and an internship with Tennis Canada that I finally landed a full-time job with the NHL.
So, my advice to anyone out there: never give up and take advantage of every opportunity, you never know where it will lead you!
Aside from your role with the NHL, you’ve volunteered for many events such as the Invictus Games, the NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto and the FIBA Americas. And with our good friend Shauna at many of these events! What is it about these opportunities that draw you to continue to offer your assistance?
For me, volunteering began as an opportunity to gain experience and build my resume. I meet so many wonderful people through doing this, many of which I am able to work with at multiple events. I also learn a lot from volunteering: what worked, what didn’t and how things could be improved for the next one.
I really enjoy taking after an event, as it is always my hope to run an event one day and these tips would help during the planning process. It is the combination of the amazing people I get to meet and the takeaways that keep me looking for new opportunities.
I still believe there is more to learn, which keeps me going back even now. It is also nice to pass it forward and help those who are trying to pave their path in sports, as so many are responsible for my successes.
What moments have you had in your sport management career that you are most proud of?
Being hired by the NHL to begin my career – This was the ultimate dream from my high school days. I always wanted to work for a professional sports team/league. Never had a plan B!
Being selected to be a Nations Liaison for the UK team for the Invictus Games in Toronto – Really showed me there are no excuses for anything. Watching some of these athletes compete with missing limbs, and still pushing themselves to always be better was so inspiring. Also, getting the chance to know these incredible individuals is something I will never forget.
NHL Exposure Combine – The first Combine in 2014 was held 8 months after I started at the league. I was given the opportunity to plan an event like this shortly after starting and had my vision become a reality. It is still something I look forward to every year, as I continue to grow and improve the event year to year.
Manager, University of Waterloo’s Men’s Hockey team – In this role, I was responsible for hiring game day staff, running intermission activities, and promoting games on campus. The coaches and players were great and always willing to participate in my campus promotions for upcoming games and events.
Hayley's Final Thoughts
Taryn Daneman has banked incredible and plentiful sport experiences on her path to becoming the Manager of Officiating for the NHL. From volunteering with the Invictus Games, the FIBA Americas, the NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto, Tennis Canda and a plethora of other events, Taryn has done pretty much done it all. Yet, throughout her career, there is still one event that she looks forward to every year: the NHL Exposure Combine. Over the years, Taryn has had the ability to execute her vision and improve the combine along the way. Becoming an NHL official is a tough task but Taryn is paving the way, helping them develop their skills and begin a career in the sport they love.