Women in Hockey Conference presented by the Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8th and this year we participated through our inaugural Women in Hockey Conference!

Our conference celebrated many of the talented women who work in our great game.

Through panel discussions, our incredible group of guest speakers shared their stories and provided advice and guidance to all participants.


Watch the segments that were shown on March 8th:


Please see below for our schedule and bios of all confirmed guest speakers.


Host: Sarah Jean Maher
3:00pm Pre-Game Warmup: Joe Birch
3:05pm 1st Period: Chelsea Purcell, Michelle Benevides, Alexandra Mandrycky & Saroya Tinker
3:45pm 2nd Period: Tara Slone, Alex Witherspoon, Alyscia Warner & Jessica Platt
4:30pm 3rd Period (Keynote Speaker): Meghan Chayka, Stathletes
5:15pm Overtime: Namita Nandakumar, Christy Aubin, Olivia Terenzio & Rochelle Thiel
6:00pm Post-Game Interview: Sarah Jean Maher

Host & Guest Speaker Bios

Sarah Jean Maher, Manager of Communications, Ontario Hockey League

Sarah Jean joined the Ontario Hockey League as Communications Manager in 2019. Her duties include written and visual content creation, maintenance of the League website and social platforms, elevating the profile of member club and player initiatives, assisting with internal communication tasks, and helping out with regular day-to-day game coverage. Prior to joining the OHL, Sarah Jean spent more than three seasons working with the NHL and its respective Clubs capturing creative content for their various social and digital platforms and previously worked as a freelance reporter. She graduated from Carleton University in 2013 with a degree in journalism.


Chelsea Purcell, Corporate Sponsorship Consultant, Canada & Member of PWHPA Support Team

Chelsea has been engrained in hockey her whole life. Playing five years at the University of Saskatchewan then going on to play in the CWHL (Canadian Women’s Hockey League) with the inaugural Calgary Inferno team. After hanging up the skates, she went on to Toronto where she took Sport & Event Marketing at George Brown College that led her to become the GM of the Markham Thunder and Clarkson Cup champions in her first year. Currently, she works for CCMC Sports, the CHL’s sponsorship agency and is the lead Corporate Sponsorship consultant for the PWHPA. 


Michelle Benevides, Director of Marketing and Communications, Kitchener Rangers

Michelle joined the Rangers in 2007. Her focus is on the development and enhancement of the Rangers brand through the creation of various marketing initiatives, graphic design, programs and collateral. Michelle also develops the team’s community relations and partnerships programs, working with the many charitable and non-profit organizations in Rangers Nation, providing assistance from the Rangers to support our community.


Alexandra Mandrycky, Director of Hockey Strategy & Research, Seattle Kraken

Alexandra is the Director of Hockey Strategy and Research for the Seattle Kraken. She and her group facilitate the use of data and technology throughout the Hockey Operations department. Alexandra previously spent four seasons as Hockey Operations Analyst with the Minnesota Wild. Alexandra graduated from Georgia Tech in 2013 with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. 


Saroya Tinker, Professional Hockey Player, Metropolitan Riveters of the NWHL

From Toronto, ON, grew up playing in the OWHA and the PWHL (Durham West Jr Lightning). Won a silver medal with U18 Canadian National team. Four year starter at Yale University- double majored in The History of Science, Medicine and Public Health as well as Sociology. Drafted 4th overall by the Metropolitan Riveters in the 2020 NWHL Draft.


Tara Slone, Co-Host, Rogers Hometown Hockey & Host, Top Of [Her] Game

Tara Slone is a Juno-nominated musician and an award-winning television host, who can be seen co-hosting Rogers Hometown Hockey on Sportsnet, as well as at the helm of the new female-focused series Top Of HER Game. 


Alex Witherspoon, Digital Marketing Manager, Kitchener Rangers

Alex joined the Rangers in 2018. Alex is in charge of planning, implementing, and monitoring the Rangers marketing campaigns across all digital networks. Alex develops content, provides graphic design materials for print and digital projects, and oversees social media management. Alex joined the Rangers in 2018 as a Graphic Designer. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Hons) from McMaster University studying Multimedia. 


Alyscia Warner, Manager of Communications, Edmonton Oil Kings

Alyscia joined the Oil Kings in September, 2018. As Manager, Communications, Alyscia is responsible for internal and external Oil Kings communications including trades, game recaps, coverage of the WHL Bantam Draft, and more. She is also the key contact for day-to-day media inquiries and game day press, scouting and media affairs. Prior to joining the Oil Kings, Alyscia covered multiple Ontario Hockey League teams from 2010 to 2018. Most recently, she served as Manager of Media and Communications for the Kitchener Rangers for three seasons from 2015 to 2018.


Jessica Platt, Professional Hockey Player, PWHPA

Jessica Platt is the first openly transgender woman to play professional hockey in North America. She played two seasons with the Toronto Furies in the former CWHL, and most recently played with the PWHPA (Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association). She is a firm believer in equity in sports and fights for trans rights. She is also part of the fight for a sustainable professional women’s hockey league so young girls can have the same dreams their brothers have.


Meghan Chayka, Co-Founder, Stathletes

Meghan is a Co-Founder/co-CEO of Stathletes, a hockey data and analytics company. Stathletes provides industry-leading hockey insights in over 22 leagues worldwide and has scaled to the highest professional levels across North America and Europe. In another industry role, Meghan is a Data Scientist in Residence at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. In 2019, she was featured on the insert cover of the Hockey News’ Top 100 of power and Influence, listed at 95 overall and in the Top 10 for Hockey Business Executives. Meghan and Stathletes have also been awarded Top Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2018/2019 by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Top 40 under 40 in hockey for the Athletic in 2019 & 2020. She is active in Canadian consulate international events and was the keynote speaker in multiple women in technology conferences in the EU.


Namita Nandakumar, Senior Quantitative Analyst, Seattle Kraken

Namita is the Senior Quantitative Analyst for the Seattle Kraken Hockey Operations R&D team. She previously spent two seasons as a Quantitative Analyst for the Philadelphia Eagles. Namita graduated from Wharton in 2018 with a B.S. in Economics and a concentration in Statistics.


Christy Aubin, Administrative Assistant, Kitchener Rangers

Christy joined the Kitchener Rangers in 2019 as Administrative Assistant.  This role includes supporting both the business and hockey operations for the club.  She has worked in administrative roles supporting senior executives in both Canada and Bermuda for almost 20 years.


Olivia Terenzio, Lead Data Tracker, Kitchener Rangers

Olivia is an operations professional with an Honours Bachelor of Arts focused in Speech Communication and Digital Arts from the University of Waterloo. Bringing experience from her time at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Ontario Hockey League, FIRST Robotics Canada and Philip Aziz Centre for Palliative Care, Olivia has accumulated an extensive and diverse background. Her versatile knowledge and diligent commitment toward pushing barriers for inclusivity within sport shines a fresh look on the industry for aspiring young professionals. 


Rochelle Thiel, Community Events and Merchandising Manager, Kitchener Rangers

Rochelle joined the Rangers in 2010 as a Game Operations Intern and joined the club on a full-time basis in 2014. Rochelle oversees the operation of Rangers Authentics, the Official Store of the Kitchener Rangers, and ensures the successful coordination of community events. Rochelle received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Waterloo studying Recreation and Leisure Studies and resides in Kitchener.
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