Skating Into STEM Careers

The air outside is brisk, the leaves are just turning, and there’s a hint of fall in the air.  Hockey season is here! As you head into the rink to watch your favorite team (Go Coyotes!), did you know that it also serves as a basketball stadium or concert arena? How do they change the floor from hardwood to ice? It must be a big job!

You stand in line to get your ticket scanned. You bought your ticket online; the hockey team’s website is your favorite one to visit. It has stats, player pictures, the game schedule, videos, and even an online store for fan gear!  Who designs all of these digital tools to bring the game to life?

As you walk through the doors of the hockey rink, you’re met by the cold air and the crowd of people dressed in similar outfits as yours. The smell of popcorn and hotdogs fill the air.  There are advertisements for restaurants all around the hallway and it’s hard to decide where to grab your first snack. You pass several booths and shops selling team gear ranging from jerseys to large foam fingers. It’s interesting to think about who makes the decisions about what kinds of things to sell and how much to sell them for…you settle on a hot dog and go to take your seat.  

Time to log in to the WiFi and send out a Snapchat and Instagram photo of you watching your favorite team win. But who makes sure there is enough bandwidth for all the fans? As you enjoy the rest of the game, you keep your questions in the back of your mind.  After all, hockey is your favorite sport and it would be a dream come true to work in a science or technology career at the ice rink!

I think you all can probably see where we are going with this blog post; there are a lot of people that make an NHL game happen! While we love to watch and cheer on our favorite players, it is pretty fascinating to think about all of the STEM-based careers that exist within the game of hockey. Our three goals (hat trick pun intended) with Hockey Scholar.


As fans are gearing up for a great Hockey season, hundreds of STEM professionals at all 30 clubs, at the NHL offices and the NHL Player’s Association are preparing to offer fans the best experience possible. In addition to the careers highlighted in Future Goals – Hockey Scholar such as the ice technician and equipment manager, there are many more! Check out some of the careers currently posted at www.hockeyjobs.nhl.com:

  • Website Coordinator  Website coordinators are responsible for the upkeep of the team website including the design and content. Coordinators focus on layout and function to support team needs but want to be sure it looks great for fans and is user-friendly. It is important that these individuals have the following skills:
    • Bachelor’s Degree in communications, media or computer science preferred
    • Content management experience
    • HTML writing
    • Strong writing and communication skills
    • Attention to detail and quality of work
    • Flexibility to work nights and weekends
  • Operations Technician – Operations Technicians ensure everything runs smoothly (pun intended). Their job is to be a great team member and will perform duties such as assisting the preparation and maintenance of the ice. Job seekers should apply if they fit the following: 
    • High School Diploma or G.E.D
    • Ability to monitor mechanical systems
    • Basic working knowledge of electrical circuits, breakers, courtesy power including GFI and lighting
    • Experienced in general building repairs
  • Data Analytics Manager  This person is responsible for understanding all sources of team data on the business side. Data Analytics Managers also perform data-driven research to identify ways to grow team revenue and to identify trends in marketing. What is selling well in the store? What marketing campaigns are driving fans to the website? Required skills and education for someone in this role include:
    • Bachelor’s degree required with 2+ years experience in the industry
    • Ability to solve complex, analytical problems
    • Comfortable working with multiple, large databases
    • Team player who enjoys fast paced and innovative environment
    • Proven ability to communicate process and results of data analysis clearly
  • Graphics Operator  Graphics Operators assists in-game production for the arena. The graphic operator is responsible for pushing out all in-game graphics and updating videos and images for use in the game presentations on the jumbotron and displays around the arena. This person also posts player statistics throughout the game for individual players so fans are in the know! Graphics operators possess the following:
    • Bachelor’s Degree
    • Experience with Photoshop
    • Self-confident, resilient and possess a high energy level and enthusiasm
    • Strategic and critical thinker with problem solving skills
    • Well organized and able to manage own time
  • IT Manager – IT Managers provide technical support and make recommendations for best systems to ensure a safe, reliable internet network at the arena. IT Managers also provide operational support in the distribution of game and programming content in the suites, fan shops, and meeting spaces during the games. It is also a key part of the job to stay current on new technology and research their impact on team operations. When applying for this position, hiring managers look for the following:
    • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field
    • Intuitive and creativity for improving work
    • Proficient with installing and configuring computer hardware and software
    • Troubleshooting skills
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

As technology is changing, new careers in hockey are created every day that may fit a student’s interest. Keep up to date with all available careers at www.hockeyjobs.nhl.com, or head to FutureGoals.NHL.com/Resources to hear from current NHL staff and how their job relates to STEM. 

**All career descriptions were pulled from www.hockeyjobs.nhl.com and modified for understanding**


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Jessica Golden is a Senior Schools Manager based in Arizona supporting the Southwest. Jessica moved to Phoenix as a Teach for America corps member in 2010 and Arizona has been her home ever since — though you will still find her cheering on the Kansas City Royals! Follow her on Twitter @Golden_EverFi.
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Dana Benedict is a Schools Manager based in Las Vegas, supporting Nevada and New Mexico. After living and teaching in Washington, D.C. for six years, she returned to her hometown in 2015 and loves supporting local educators. You can find her on Twitter @dbenedicteverfi.