Cindy Dayley has been involved in the sport of ice hockey in the Seattle, WA area for over 50 years. Cindy grew up in the Seattle hockey scene. Her first experience with hockey was as a 3-month-old—she learned to crawl in the Seattle Arena while her parents watched the Seattle Totems. Cindy’s family were season ticket holders for the Totems (1961 – 1974), the Seattle Breakers (1977 – 1985), and the Seattle Thunderbirds (1985 – 2008).
In the early 1970s, Cindy trained as a figure skater at Highland Ice Arena with Olympic silver medalist figure skater, John Lettengarver, but her true love was the game of hockey. A neighbor suggested letting her play hockey, so her parents enrolled her to play with the boys because there were no girls hockey teams at the time; however, that didn’t last long. Despite her superior skating skills (acquired from her figure skating lessons), other parents complained that they did not want their son’s playing with a girl.
When Cindy turned 11 years old, she joined the only adult women’s team in Seattle, the first established women's team since 1921, where she played for the next ten years (1972 – 1982). The team’s home rink was Highland Ice Arena. They played in the North King County League; however, they primarily played exhibition games against Canadian teams, and completed in tournaments on both sides of the border.
To compete at a higher level Cindy headed north to play in the Canadian women’s AAA hockey league from 1983 – 1986. She played for the Newton Voyagers, Surrey’s farm team, (1983 – 1984) and then for the Surrey Flyers (1984 – 1986), the top AAA team in British Columbia.
In 1987 Cindy returned home to Washington state and played men’s full-check hockey, many times with ex-NHL or major Junior players. In 1988 she helped form the Seattle Wings Women’s Hockey Club. The club had two teams: the Seattle Wings for advanced players and the Seattle Orcas for intermediate and beginner players. She served on the board, played, and eventually coached in 1997.
In 1993 Cindy was asked to coach a girls’ house team at Seattle Junior Hockey Association (SJHA). A year later she was asked to coach the SJHA’s first girls’ 19U AAA team in the area, the NW Admirals. By the second year the team went undefeated and won the Canadian Lower Mainland Female Hockey Association title – the first American team to do so. The team help develop players who became some of the first players from Washington state to go on to play NCAA D1 and D3 women’s hockey.
In 1997 Cindy not only coached the Seattle Wings in the fall with Zoë Harris, but in spring/summer – they were asked to start the first women’s inline league in Seattle and take a team to the AIRS National Championship. They won the National Championship as a first-time team.
In the summer of 1997, alongside Zoë Harris, Cindy co-started the 49th Parallel Programs with Alan Chim of Vancouver. It was the first-ever Washington-BC combined girls’ program to hold elite camps, clinics, and teams with US and Canadian players. The goal was to get exposure for players through tournaments and clinics. For many colleges, the 49th Parallel Program was the first time they sent scouts to the West Coast. In two years, over 20 players were placed in NCAA programs and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and aid monies.
From 1998 to 2004 Cindy was the head coach for the University of Washington Huskies men’s non-varsity team—the first woman head coach of a men’s college hockey team. Over her six-year tenure she recorded a of 140-42-1 record. Her accolades during this time include:
Hockey Hall of Fame – Toronto, Canada: coaching paraphernalia entered in the Hockey Hall of Fame for being the first woman to coach a men’s collegiate ice hockey team; (1998)
Sports Dedicated Service Award – University of Washington (2004)
Coach of the Year – American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) – West Coast; University of Washington men’s ice hockey team; first woman to receive award (2002)
Coach of the Year – PAC8 Conference; University of Washington men’s ice hockey; first woman to receive award (2002 & 2004)
Virginia Mason / Seattle Mariners – Women of the Year (one of several recipients)
In 2000, Cindy assisted Zoë Harris in setting up the women’s division of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Starting with 15 teams, it was the first-ever national division for women’s collegiate non-varsity hockey. Cindy was an advisor and rules expert.
From 2009 to 2018 Cindy served as a coach, coaching director, treasurer, and president of Western Washington Female Hockey Association (WWFHA) Washington Wild where she helped grow the association from less than 30 players on two teams to over 100 players on multiple teams. With Cindy as their coach, the 19U Rep Tier 2 team won the prestigious Connecticut Polar Bear Holiday Tournament, placed second in the USA Hockey regional tournament, and placed second in the Canadian Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association (PCAHA) League championship. That same year, she also coached the 19U Tier 3 team that went undefeated in league and championship play (14-0-3), taking first place in the Canadian PCAHA League regular season and second place in the Canadian PCAHA League championship. In 2017 Cindy received the WWFHA Lifetime Achievement Award.
From 2012 to 2018, Cindy also served as Washington State Female Director within USA Hockey and Pacific Northwest Amateur Hockey Association (PNAHA). She helped grow the game for girls and quadrupled the number of players participating in the PNAHA state camp for an opportunity to compete for Pacific coast and national camps.
In 2019 Cindy the Women’s Pro Hockey Seattle campaign as an advisor to help bring a women’s professional team to Seattle.