Originally a writer for ESPN, life between the benches as a hockey reporter wasn’t exactly what Emily Kaplan had envisioned herself doing, especially during the biggest and most exciting event in the NHL, the Stanley Cup playoffs. Emily went to Penn State University for a degree in journalism and graduated in 2013. She had two internships after college and in 2014, she got a job with Sports Illustrated as a researcher. Since then, she’s worked her way from there and currently works as an NHL reporter at ESPN.
Before Emily got her job as an NHL reporter she was a writer for ESPN. She raised her hand to her bosses and said she would love to try rinkside reporting. All she really wanted was just one or two games just to try reporting out, but now she is on the opening night broadcast between the benches.
She has said that the benefits of her job are traveling the country and talking to awesome people, while the hardest part is the constant grind, however, she wouldn’t trade it for the world. In an article with The Athletic, Emily said, “It has been strange,” and that “[She is] grateful for everything,” when she was asked about her transition from a writer's position to a broadcast position.
In the article with The Athletic, she talks about the criticism that she has faced for being a female reporter and that she doesn’t let other people's perceptions of her become how she perceives herself because it is not a healthy mindset. She said, ‘No one’s there to see me. I’m just a vehicle to get people to show their opinion. So sometimes my questions are really basic and really short just to get them to open up. People are like, ‘Oh, she’s so dumb. Those are dumb questions.’ Actually, it’s super calculated.’” Emily’s questions aren’t meant to flex her knowledge of the sport–they are meant to get players and coaches talking.
Part of her job includes getting to talk to the coaches of the league. Emily mentions how coaches have treated her since she interviews them during games and she says that she thinks they get it and even if they are uncomfortable with it, they still give her access to interview them. When talking about coaches, she said, “I wrote (Boston coach) Bruce Cassidy a really long email after I covered the Bruins series, just thanking him for always treating me with so much respect. In meetings, he treated me exactly like he treated my male colleagues.”
Emily has not only made an impact on women trying to do what she is doing, but she has impacted the NHL as well. Emily has become an important voice of the NHL and helps to bring out the personality of the NHL athletes. In an article with Onward State, she talks about what she wants to bring to the table when she is reporting and she said, “I wanted to bring my own style and own take on what the reporter role should be…I never focused on my gender or anything like that. I just wanted to do the role how I always wanted to.’”
When she did a podcast withSpeak of the Devils, she talked about the relationships that she has with other female reporters and inspiring the next generation of women in hockey. Emily said that “visibility totally matters” when seeing other women in this role. She said that seeing women on TV or hearing them on the radio talking about sports makes it normalized and then when kids watch or hear it, they will be inspired to do this because, “If you can see it, you can believe it.”