SBJ/October 8-14, 2012/Game Changers

Game Changers: Julie Grand

Photo: DAVID DOW / NHL IMAGES
Grand is proud of the league’s work in player safety,
especially elements around the rink.
Julie Grand
NHL
SVP, Deputy General Counsel

Julie Grand’s most pressing concern this year has been collective bargaining with the NHL Players’ Association, but her efforts over 13 years at the league are on display at every NHL game. An expert in the fields of player health and safety, Grand has regulated league medical standards and requirements while acting as a watchdog for the NHL in the area of sport-related concussions. She serves on the NHL/NHLPA Concussion Working Group, which was recognized by the National Academy of Neuropsychology for its accomplishments in concussion research and management.

Grand is responsible for the implementation and standardization of netting in arenas, the flexibility in the glass and boards around the rink, and the installation of curved glass near teams’ bench areas, all of which have lessened player and fan injuries. She also directed the implementation of a leaguewide electronic medical record system in 2006-07, making the NHL the first major sports league to do so.

Grand oversees litigation involving the league, but she sees her work in player and fan safety as a major source of pride.

“Providing the safest environment possible is something we take very seriously,” Grand said. “Knowing you are able to make a difference in that area can be extremely gratifying.”

— Christopher Botta
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever received?: Be well-prepared, and you will feel confident going into any situation.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Juggling how I plan to spend each day, with the issues that arise for our clubs and within the league on a daily basis.
  • My vision of success is …: To earn and maintain the trust, confidence and support of those with whom I work, and for whom I work, based on my work product.
  • One attribute I look for when hiring is …: Attention to detail.
  • Outside of work and family, I’m spending a lot of my time on …: Exercising to reduce stress, keep my mind sharp and my body healthy.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“From the perspective of an outside lawyer, Julie is a delight to work with. She is indefatigable and she cares about her job and her clients. I once worked with her on a case in St. Louis, around the time Julie was getting married. She was so dedicated to her work that she missed the bridal fittings. We had to tell her to fly home and start preparing for her own wedding.”

  • Shepard Goldfein, partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
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