Growing up, Donna Guariglia’s parents were heavily involved in the community.
Volunteering thus became a big part of her life as well. That trait of giving to others has always stayed with her.
After over 20 years of volunteering through various roles within USA Hockey, Guariglia is still going strong. The Morristown, New Jersey, resident is currently in her most prominent position with the organization as the treasurer of USA Hockey.
Even though Guariglia didn’t start playing the game until she was in her 30s — she was a figure skater at a young age — hockey has always had a big influence in her life.
“We grew up around it,” said Guariglia, who grew up with four younger brothers. “Even before the Devils were in New Jersey, we were big Ranger fans. My dad had tickets at [Madison Square] Garden. It’s just really been a part of my life for a long, long time.”
Guariglia raised four kids with her husband. When two of her boys first started in the sport, a notice was sent home about running for the board of directors for the New Jersey Colonials hockey club. Guariglia’s husband encouraged her to run.
“I think I’ve always had it in me to take a challenge or say, why don’t you try something and see how you do at it,” Guariglia said. “And, so, I ran and got elected to the board.”
The next year, the president of the Colonials retired, opening that position up through election. Guariglia ran and was picked to run the organization. Her hockey career was quickly off and running.
At that point, the Colonials didn’t have a girls’ program and Guariglia wanted to change that. What started with a small basic skills session blossomed into a full-fledged program. It is now one of the top programs in the Atlantic District.
As president of the Colonials, Guariglia sat on various boards within the Atlantic District. In 2011, she was named the Atlantic Amateur Hockey Association’s volunteer of the year. She helped found and became president of the Mid-Atlantic Hockey Association, focusing on growing the girls’ game in the Atlantic District. For her contributions, Guariglia was honored with the USA Hockey President’s Award in 2015.
In June 2010, Guariglia took over as USA Hockey’s Girls’/Women’s Section director before being elected to her current position as USA Hockey's treasurer and a member of the organization's executive committee in 2015.
“Being the treasurer has been a new experience and it’s a whole other part of the organization that's really interesting. To get to see behind the scenes and do all that work is a part of it that I never would have had access to other than my role of being on the board,” Guariglia said.
Guariglia, who is a key leader in the organization, is also the co-chair of the diversity and inclusion task force, an area she’s very passionate about.
“I kind of know how long to stay somewhere and get done all the things I want to accomplish and then move on and see what else I can do to try and make a difference,” Guariglia said.
Still wearing many hats within USA Hockey, Guariglia isn’t sure how much longer she’ll be volunteering for her favorite organization. She knows for sure she wants to be with USA Hockey long enough to pass along the expertise she gained from her predecessors.
“I’m a huge proponent of young people coming in with new ideas, creativity, and we need all that,” Guariglia said. “But right now, I think we are on the brink of really moving the needle and going forward in ways that we haven’t seen for a long time. What I mean by that is with the changing demographics in the United States and the fact that we have done such a good job in ice hockey and we make sure that it’s a safe, fun environment. I think we just have the ability to continue to grow and make USA Hockey one of the best not only youth sports there is but even one of the most enjoyable to watch — men, women, disabled.
“Answering the question: when will enough be enough for me? I’m not sure. I definitely have some years left because there’s things I want to see accomplished and hopefully they will be.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.