By Buddy Pinkston
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
DULUTH, Ga. – The first time she walked into a pro hockey locker room, Megan Guthrie had butterflies.
It wasn’t the possibility of a man’s dropped towel that made her nervous. Nor did she doubt her abilities as an athletic trainer.
Her only fear was of being wrong about a career choice that seemed so clear.
“I was thinking, ‘What if I hate this?’ ” Guthrie said. “I wanted it for so long, but what if I found out it was all a mistake?”
Her first experience as a volunteer assistant for the Pensacola Ice Pilots in 1998 confirmed what Guthrie’s instincts had been urging for years and set her on a course to the Gwinnett Gladiators, who hired her twice.
“I couldn’t have a more perfect job,” said Guthrie, 34, who embraced Canada’s national sport while living in Toronto from age 6 to 16. “I get paid to watch hockey and work with athletes.”
Strong recommendations from the Ice Pilots and her obvious enthusiasm for the work persuaded management to give Guthrie her first head trainer position in 2000, when the franchise was the Mobile Mysticks. Her performance that season won her the job again when the franchise moved to Gwinnett after disbanding for a year.
“She was gung-ho about the job,” said Gladiators general manager Steve Chapman, “and she obviously loved hockey. Her attitude impressed us as much anything else. It’s certainly worked out well. She’s done a great job.”