Chie Chie Yard, National Hockey League
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