JMU has had its fair share of notable alumni working in sports over the years. However, Andy Gibson (’10) has a story like no other. Gibson worked his way through the hockey industry, from working small roles at a rink to get by to where he is today as the general manager for a Dallas Stars facility.
Hockey was his passion from the start. Gibson spent his high school career playing hockey at Cranbrook Kingswood boarding school and didn’t plan on going to college. After high school, he had his sights set on joining the Peace Corps, but graduating at 17 put that goal on pause, and Andy ended up at JMU on a whim.
“I had a kind of a one-in-a-million experience,” Gibson said.
Gibson quickly became incredibly involved. He participated in student government and was a First Year Orientation Guide as well as an Orientation Peer Advisor. Gibson was also a team leader for Saferides and said it was one of his favorite experiences.
“He seemed to really find purpose and energy around serving other people,” Nick Langridge, current vice president for University Advancement said.
Although hockey was a huge part of his life, Gibson said he was burned out after high school, so he didn’t plan on going into hockey after college. Gibson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and nonprofit studies.
In 2011, Gibson went into the Peace Corps and served in West Africa. In 2012, he returned to the states, and hockey fell back into his life as he took an entry level job at the Washington Capitals’ training facility in Arlington, Virginia.
Andy worked through different roles at the Washington Capitals’ training facility as well as became a youth coach, which ultimately led him to become a hockey director at a rink in Charlotte, North Carolina. He returned to JMU in 2015 and entered the Sport Leadership Masters Program.
“Andy is one of the most passionate people,” JMU Sport Leadership Professional Neil Marrin said in reflection of Andy Gibson as a student in JMU’s Sport Leadership Masters Program. “He’s passionate about hockey, and he’s passionate about helping people.”
In 2016, Gibson began working for USA Hockey as a program services manager.
“It was a dream job, I always wanted to work for USA Hockey,” Gibson said.
Gibson traveled often and worked to find new and better ways to grow youth hockey across the country. Gibson worked for USA Hockey for three years, and thanks to the connections he made throughout his career, the Dallas Stars reached out to him in 2020 and offered him a position as a general manager.
Gibson’s currently the general manager for one of the eight Stars’ ice rink facilities located in Farmers Branch, Texas. He works to not only promote the Dallas Stars but also to build up the hockey community within the area by putting on public events, running competitive figure skating and youth hockey programs as well as overseeing the facility, as it’s the host rink for visiting NHL teams.
Hockey has always been a huge part of his life from the start, and despite taking a break from the sport to go to the Peace Corps, he found his way back to it. Gibson’s passionate and dedicated to everything he does, and he lives to help others. He’s a model Duke and notable alumnus that worked his way through the sports world.
Contact Alexa Grau at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more sports coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.