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Why Meghan Duggan’s new job with the New Jersey Devils is so important for all of us

In her new role, Meghan Duggan will do what she does well: develop players. She’ll do it as an out gay woman.

Buffalo Sabres v Tampa Bay Lightning
Meghan Duggan will continue her push for equality and inclusion in sports, now in her new player development role with the New Jersey Devils.
Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

Meghan Duggan has a new job with the New Jersey Devils, recently hired as manager of player development for the NHL team. Believed to be the first out gay person hired in such a role anywhere in the league, her mere presence in sports continues to be a catalyst for change.

Of course, she intends to do a lot more than just show up.

When I chatted with the Olympic gold medalist last year, she said the most important work she’d ever done was to push for inclusion in sports, particularly of women in sports. She pointed to her work with the Women’s Sports Foundation as something she was particularly proud of.

“The Women’s Sports Foundation is my favorite topic to talk about and a group I love and admire and respect and am honored to be a part of,” Duggan said.

In her new role with the Devils, she’ll be doing what she does best: developing players.

“If anyone knows how to develop players, it is Meghan,” former teammate Erika Lawler told The Athletic.

It’s important and refreshing to see the doors being opened by and for women in men’s professional sports. Lawler’s quote was perfect: Duggan is simply good at this key sports skill. And yeah, just like in every other profession, she can work with men.

The Devils have for years embraced the LGBTQ community, building partnerships with LGBTQ groups, hosting various successful Pride Nights and supporting inclusion in the workplace, including elevating the voice of gay staffer Joe Altenau.

The NHL has never had a current or former LGBTQ player or coach come out publicly.