The NHL is celebrating women in hockey, and every week this season, NHL.com will highlight a woman from each of the 32 teams. Today, a look at Washington Capitals skating coach Wendy Marco:

Name: Wendy Marco 

Job title: Washington Capitals Skating Coach 

Education (Please list post-secondary institutions and degree/s): Texas A&M University, BA Communication 

Years of hockey experience (Include on- and off-ice hockey-related experience): 30 years coaching hockey skating. I was a competitive figure skater growing up and a competitive water skier in college. I think having a background in two different sports that require speed, edge control, and power is a part of the reason hockey skating became a natural fit. 

Describe your job in 2-3 sentences: It’s my job to help Washington Capitals players and prospects improve their skating speed, power, agility, balance, and efficiency. Additionally, I run the skating portion of the Capitals development camps and serve as the skating coach for the Capitals AHL affiliate, Hershey Bears. When I’m not on the ice with the Capitals organization, I run a hockey instruction company in Northern Virginia, ColdRush, with hundreds of youth travel, junior, and college players.

What was your first-ever job, and did it prepare you for the work you do today? 

My very first teenage job I was the Easter Bunny at the mall, my first job out of college I was a television reporter, and in between I worked as an aerobics instructor and bartender. As a reporter I learned how to ask insightful questions and explain complex topics in a concise and interesting way. As the Easter Bunny I had to be energetic and entertaining and as a bartender I had to be both of those things plus communicate effectively with many people at a time while moving as fast as possible. It was as an aerobics instructor that I figured out how to motivate others to do something that is physically demanding. I don’t know that any one of these early jobs prepared me to be an NHL skating coach, but all of them added to the skill set that I bring to the ice every day. 

What are you most proud of?

I began teaching hockey skating in 1993. I dealt with a lot of negativity in the early years, both from men who were adamant that there was no place for women in hockey and from the old school faithful who believed that any skating that didn’t involve a trash can at center ice wasn’t “real” power skating. I knew that skating needed to be both challenging and fun or players weren’t going to skate, so I made it my goal to make skating something that hockey players would want to do, and I was determined not to let being a woman stand in the way of a career I was passionate about. Over the past 3 decades I’ve originated hundreds of creative drills and developed techniques that have been adopted by coaches throughout the world. I’ve published articles, produced a DVD, patented training equipment, and was a featured speaker at both International Hockey Skating Symposiums. Some of the thousands of skaters I’ve taught have won National Championships, the Frozen Four, the Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold. One of my long-time students, Mike Ansell, even became an NHL skating coach (Buffalo Sabres) before I did. For many years I have worked with Capitals players privately off-season and occasionally the team would hire me to skate with a player on IR, but it wasn’t until last summer, after three decades in the sport, that I was handed the blue and red track suit and finally made my “official” NHL debut as the skating coach for the Washington Capitals. I am most proud of demonstrating to the two daughters that I have raised with my husband of 26 years the rewards that are earned through consistent hard work, purpose, and resiliency.

What is your next goal or what do you want to accomplish next?

My primary goal is to enhance the Washington Capital’s performance now and in the future through the improved skating of individual current players and prospects. Hockey keeps getting faster and faster and it is universally acknowledged that exceptional skating is vitally important to today’s game. However, incorporating specialized skating training within the demanding NHL schedule and rigorous grind of an NHL season poses a significant challenge. It’s an honor to get this opportunity, and I hope my work contributes to what I believe will be a transformative movement in the NHL, where skating focused training becomes standard practice. 

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

The Galapagos Islands 

What’s your favorite book? 

“Atomic Habits” 

One thing you can’t live without: 

A purpose

Do you collect anything?

Playbills of shows I see in NY… I’m a Broadway musical junkie. 

What is your hobby outside of work?

Wake Surfing, Yoga, & I’ve recently been getting into dog agility with one of my pups.