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Theresa Feaster Makes History At WJC

Huge congratulations to Theresa Feaster on making WJC history by becoming the first female coach at the World Juniors and the first to win gold at the tourney (she's also the first for the national junior squad). The daughter of longtime NHL exec Jay Feaster, Theresa was born into hockey and very much molded by it. Like lots of little kids, she just wanted to do what one of her parents did. But unlike most kids, she was already putting work in before the second grade beckoned.

(TSN) -- Jay first recognized his daughter’s passion for the game when he took her on an AHL road trip with the Hershey Bears to Adirondack when she was five or six years old.

“We got absolutely smoked in Glens Falls, and she was little, but we got on the bus for the long ride home and I looked at her and said, ‘Don’t you say a word to anyone,’ ” Jay said Monday from his home in Florida. “She had awareness then, the significance of a loss. It wasn’t until [coach] Bob Hartley turned to her and said, ‘Now Theresa, what did you think of that mess?’ that she spoke.”

Jay said Theresa was “never just a typical hockey fan.” The former Flames and Lightning GM fondly recalls Theresa hanging out in his home office as a helper, always interested in helping fax a player contract or other important hockey documents. 

“I would come home from the rink in Hershey on a Saturday night and instead of watching a movie, we would sit on the couch together and watch the NHL Center Ice package,” Jay said.

She became an undergrad assistant for Providence College head coach Nate Leaman during the 2012-13 season and, through her talent and work ethic, has since worked her way up to the full-time position of Coordinator of Men's Ice Hockey Operations, one of just two women currently working for a D1 men's hockey program. While the position requires many duties, Feaster relishes breaking down video.

“I love the video. That is the best part of the job,” Feaster said. “Whether it’s live-tagging [game events as they happen] or pre-scout, I love diving in, watching games and getting lost in the video.”

That, Leaman said, is where Feaster shines.

“She is a step ahead of me,” Leaman said. “She knows exactly what I’m looking for. She knows exactly how to break an opponent down. You watch enough games and anyone can break down a forecheck, or a power play, or neutral zone play. But with Theresa, it’s not just arbitrary clips, she knows how to pinpoint what makes an opponent win, and that’s the difference.”

“People are figuring out how good she is,” Leaman said. “She’ll definitely be opening eyes. Anyone who spends time around her would be a fool not to recognize her talent. Theresa is a lot of the brains behind the operation."

While she loves the work she's doing for Providence and Team USA, Feaster has her eyes on bigger goals. 

“I want to be an NHL GM someday,” Feaster said. “I want to win a Stanley Cup. I think that’s every little kid’s dream. Mine isn’t any different.

We've recently seen women hired for team positions that they wouldn't be 25-30 years ago. Whether it's Becky Hammon in San Antonio or Kim Ng in Miami, teams are increasingly recognizing the value of having distaff staff members on board when building a team. It sure wouldn't be any surprise to see Feaster join Hammon and Ng in the pro ranks in the next few years, chasing down that Stanley Cup.