Campbell Becomes First Female Coach in NHL, Named Kraken Assistant

Campbell helped the Firebirds reach the Calder Cup Final in their inaugural season in 2022-23 and again this past season. She coached on-ice sessions at the Kraken’s training camp and was the first woman to coach at the 2022 IIHF World Championship when she was an assistant for Germany, a team that features Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer.

“There was a point where I realized I was coaching NHL players on our team and competing against NHL players,” Campbell told the website Kraken the day she was hired by Coachella Valley. “My words were welcomed and I was respected. I realized I can do this.”

Campbell began her hockey career as a child, playing with and against boys in her hometown of Rocanville, Saskatchewan, where girls’ hockey was not an option for her at the time. She played four seasons as a forward at Cornell University and professionally for Calgary of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and Malmo of the Swedish Women’s Hockey League. She also skated for silver-medal-winning Canada at the 2015 IIHF Women’s World Championship.

“It’s great for Jessica,” Maple Leafs assistant general manager Hayley Wickenheiser said. “We played together a little bit a long time ago. I know she’s put in her time in the American League. She obviously has the respect of the Seattle staff and when you have that familiarity and consistency, she’s earned it. It’s great for the game.”

After Campbell’s playing career, she began working as a skating and skills coach, launching a coaching career that has taken her back to Malmo, Tri-City of the United States Hockey League and Nurnberg of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s tutored a group of NHL veterans in Kelowna, British Columbia, including defenseman Luke Schenn (Nashville Predators), forwards Tyson Jost (Carolina Hurricanes) and Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders), and former Predators captain Shea Weber.

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