Granato misses playing days
U.S. women’s star heralded as pioneer
Shannon Miller talking up Cammi Granato is a little like a Hatfield writing a reference letter for a McCoy.
Then again, there may be no more ringing endorsement for Granato, the former U.S. women’s hockey star now living in Vancouver, than from a one-time arch nemesis.
“I hate to use the word ‘pioneer,’ because she’s so young,” said Miller, the current coach of the University of Minnesota-Duluth who was bench boss of the Canadian squad when the rivalry took off.
“But what a great person, what a great captain. She’s been the best role model for their program and she’ll probably be the best role model they ever have.
“Her teammates were crushed when she didn’t make their team. That tells you a lot about her.
“I don’t know if USA Hockey is using her in any way, shape or form, but if they are not, that’s a huge loss for female hockey, because of the human being she is and the leadership she can provide. There have been lots of great women playing the game, but ones like her are few and far between. I have a great deal of respect for her.”
The only hockey Granato, 38, is involved in regularly now is on the carpet at home, with mini-sticks. Husband Ray Ferraro, the former NHLer, and their three-year-old son Riley are her usual linemates. Granato gave birth to son Reese in December.
The sport is never far away from her, though. Ferraro has two sons from his first marriage: Matt, 21, was a junior A goaltender; Landon, 18, is a star forward with the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels and was a second-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings last summer.
Granato will take a turn on TV with this tournament, doing studio work for NBC for women’s games.
And, from the sounds of the American players, it will mean a little extra something that she’s here to watch them.
“I remember at one training camp I sat to next to her and it was a thrill to be that close to her,” said American forward Karen Thatcher. “The way a young boy now looks up to a Crosby or an Ovechkin … she was that player to us.
“I think Cammi is still the tradition and the heart and soul of USA women’s hockey. Her influence on the sport can’t be measured.
“It’s nice that she’s there. She still means a lot to the program. Just knowing she’s going to be around is huge to us.”
Cammi Granato plays against the Edmonton Chimos as captain of the B.C. Breakers in 2005.