rebecca johnston feature

Starting a new chapter

With an eye towards life after hockey, Rebecca Johnston has stepped into a new role with the Team Canada Alumni Association

Chris Jurewicz
November 9, 2018

Rebecca Johnston isn’t quite finished the high-performance hockey-playing part of her life.

But she is preparing for the end.

The 29-year-old forward is on the Canadian roster for the 2018 4 Nations Cup. It will be another in a long line of international appearances for Johnston, who has represented Canada at three Olympic Winter Games, winning gold in 2010 and 2014.

And though she still has plenty left in the tank, Johnston has been thinking a lot over the past couple of years on what she wants to do when her playing days are done. Johnston has a communications degree from Ivy League school Cornell University, but hasn’t had a typical job due to the time commitment required to play for Canada’s National Women’s Team.

That all changed in September when Johnston was named alumni program coordinator with the Team Canada Alumni Association.

“It’s almost a new take on having a current player there so I have that personal connection with some alumni and it will be easier for me to get information from them or just gather information that would be beneficial to the alumni program,” says Johnston. “But also just seeing what areas that we can improve on and making alumni feel more connected with Hockey Canada.”

It was during a debrief interview after the 2018 Games that Johnston mentioned to Hockey Canada staff of her desire to gain some work experience and her interest in event planning. For Dean McIntosh, vice-president of events and properties with Hockey Canada, this was a perfect fit.

“I have been at Hockey Canada for almost 20 years now, but I still think if an email comes off the desk from Dean McIntosh to a former player, it’s looked at, maybe it goes to trash 90% of the time and read 10% of the time. That’s not because they don’t care about Dean McIntosh or Hockey Canada, but they don’t have a natural connection to me,” he says. “But when that natural connection comes from a current player or alumni, there’s a natural affinity to that player and there’s a trust in that player, there’s an understanding that that player knows what they went through as well.

“Those are some of the unique things that Rebecca brings to the position, along with the fact that she’s really just a good person and there’s a respect factor because of that. All of those things combined have put us in a good position for her to be an ambassador for what we’re trying to do with our alumni program.”

McIntosh notes three objectives for the alumni association. First is to continue and improve engaging with alumni and strengthening relationships with players, coaches and staff of past teams.

Secondly, he says Hockey Canada can provide value to alumni through partners like Tim Hortons, Esso and TELUS and ensure alumni receive benefits that make them feel proud and appreciated for representing their country on the ice.

The final objective is tied to the first two, as McIntosh says Hockey Canada would love to see more and more alumni give back to the game of hockey.

Although Johnston has only been on the job for a few weeks, she’s already learned a lot and is having a blast with her new alumni and events teammates.

“The group, the events team is awesome and they’ve been very welcoming and are excited to have me on board which is really nice,” she says. “It’s good to get another perspective. I have always been at the tournaments as a player, as an athlete and you see all the hard work and what it requires to run a successful tournament like 4 Nations Cup or women’s worlds.

“I went to the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August in Edmonton and I was able to see behind the scenes of what things they did and I thought it was really interesting. They put a lot of time and effort and there’s a lot of work behind the scenes that I wasn’t aware of.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
[email protected]


Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]



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