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Volume 22 No. 35
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Chie Chie Yard, National Hockey League

Photo: Yard

Chie Chie Yard

Vice President, Events, National Hockey League
Born: Houston
Education: B.A., anthropology and organizational behavior and management, Brown University

The NHL’s slate of signature events has massively grown in the last two decades, going from four in 1998 to nearly 15 each year now, including several games held around the globe. 

For Chie Chie Yard, that growth has mirrored her own at the league. She started as an intern in 1998 after playing for Japan’s women’s national hockey team in the Nagano Olympics and is now a key member of the team overseeing operations and logistics for events that range from the Winter Classic to esports events.

 

“When I first started working at the league, I was doing credentials for the draft; we still used Polaroid cameras, glue sticks and laminate for the credentials back then,” Yard said.

 

As a leader on the events team, Yard leads site visits and venue preparations and works with the league’s 31 teams and their players, as well as vendors and suppliers to ensure these complex, large-scale events run smoothly.

 

But whether it’s as high profile as the All-Star Game or as grassroots as Hockeyville, Yard said she loves helping bring the sport to fans around the world.

 

“Hockeyville is my favorite event,” she said, “and while it may not be as glamorous or have as many people watching as the others, all you need to see is the look on the faces of all these little kids from a tiny community when NHL players step on the ice.”  

— Ian Thomas

Getting to know...

Attributes I look for when hiring: Positive attitude and someone willing to get their hands dirty.
Proudest professional achievement:
The 2013-14 NHL events season challenged our group to plan and execute six outdoor games in one season. It was a very tough stretch for all of us and I felt very proud that we were able to not only execute it, but did it successfully.
Woman in sports business I’d like to meet:
Billie Jean King, for breaking a major barrier back in the day. And Becky Hammon for breaking one now.
I wish I’d known at my career’s start:
Twenty years flew by in the blink of an eye. I wish I had taken the time to enjoy the ride a bit more.
Role of sports in social issues:
Whether people like it or not, sports are part of our society. People watch sports. People talk about sports. Our youth look up to athletes. So as long as we are in this position, I think social issues should be addressed on all levels in sports.