The Vancouver Canucks have been working to expand their front office since Jim Rutherford took over as president of hockey operations. The team is still doesn't have a general manager, though rumours abound about who the Canucks might be interested in.
Meanwhile, the Canucks have other needs, with one of the key areas being analytics, where director Jonathan Wall was fired just before Rutherford joined the team.
"We have to strengthen a lot of areas,” said Rutherford at the beginning of January. "It’s not just about finding senior executives; there are a lot of holes to fill in the organization.
"We need to add more people in our analytics department. I like the people we have there now, but there’s a lot of work to be done and adding a couple more in there."
On Thursday, the Canucks made a key addition to their analytics team, hiring Rachel Doerrie, formerly with the New Jersey Devils.
Doerrie got the chance to break the news herself on The Hockey News' Staff & Graph Podcast, which she hosted for three years.
"I'm thrilled, I'm over the moon. I don't think it's really sunk in yet that I'm joining the Canucks," said Doerrie. "The people that I'm going to be working with, I have heard nothing but good things about and just talking to them, it seems like such a welcoming environment that's so collaborative, where everyone's pulling on the same rope."
Doerrie will be working alongside Aiden Fox, Ryan Biech and Miles Hoaken in the analytics department, which does not yet have a new director to replace Wall. Anyone who has listened to her podcast or follows her on Twitter knows that Doerrie is sharp and opinionated and should be a great asset for the Canucks. At just 25, Doerrie already has an impressive resumé.
Doerrie was hired as an analyst by the Devils at 21, working with both their coaching staff and scouts to provide player reports and analytics, while also maintaining databases. She has also worked as a video coach for the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL, the director of analytics and advanced performance for York University, and a senior analyst for BMO Financial Group. Along the way, she's also done work for Hockey Canada, consulted for several NHL teams, and written for The Athletic and The Hockey News.
To go with all of her professional experience, Doerrie also has a degree in sports administration from Laurentian University and will be completing her Master of Science in Sport Science and Analytics from York University this summer.
"There's no one more qualified," said Mike Stephens, her co-host on Staff & Graph.
"Rachel is, without a doubt, one of the smartest and most driven people I have ever had the chance to work with," Stephens added in a blogpost on The Hockey News. "Her eye for the game is second-to-none, and the Canucks are extremely lucky to be the beneficiaries of her insight moving forward."
Doerrie's stated goal before she was hired by the Devils was to become the first female GM in NHL history.
"I think people are starting to realize that women bring a lot to the table and perhaps maybe they've been overlooked in the past, and maybe that that has been an oversight," she said at the time.
Her journey since has been a rollercoaster. She got her dream job with the Devils but it only lasted for a little over a year.
"A lot of people don't know this because I am not very public about it. There was a long, long time where I thought I was not going to get a chance to work for an NHL team again after what happened in New Jersey," said Doerrie on the podcast. "To have the Vancouver Canucks and Jim Rutherford, who is a legend in this sport — to have him believe in me, I can't even put it into words what it means.
"I'll be pretty honest: I've wanted to work for the Canucks for a long time...I had the chance to go back to [BMO] and I chose Vancouver because I think the direction the franchise is going is off-the-charts fantastic and I'm so excited to be a part of it."