Who is Jessica Campbell? All we know about NHL's probable first female coach

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Jessica Campbell: potential NHL's first female assistant coach

Jessica Campbell is a Canadian ice hockey coach and former player who could soon become the NHL's first full-time female assistant coach.

NHL insider Chris Johnston shared the news through a tweet on X:

"New SeaKraken head coach Dan Bylsma tells reporters in Seattle that Jessica Campbell will be considered for a job on his coaching staff. There's never been a full-time female assistant coach in the NHL before."

Campbell started her hockey career as a player. She represented the Canadian women's national team at the Four Nations Cup and the IIHF Women's World Championship. She had stints with Calgary Inferno in the Canadian Women's Hockey League and Malmo Redhawks in the Swedish Damettan League.

After hanging up her skates in 2017, Campbell transitioned into coaching. As owner of JC Powerskating, she worked with notable clients like Tyson Jost, Joel Edmundson and Natalie Spooner, honing her skills as a coach and mentor.

In July 2022, Jessica Campbell became the first woman to hold a full-time behind-the-bench coaching position in the American Hockey League with Coachella Valley Firebirds, an AHL affiliate of NHL's Seattle Kraken. Under the guidance of head coach Dan Bylsma, Campbell excelled in her role, contributing to the development of players like Tye Kartye and Ryker Evans.

Seattle Kraken consider Jessica Campbell for the NHL coaching staff, Bylsma and Francis commend her merit

Bylsma's remarks have thrust Campbell into the spotlight once again. The Seattle Kraken head coach has expressed interest in bringing Campbell onto his coaching staff at the NHL level.

“Jessica’s been part of that conversation. Stu Bickell has been part of that conversation and what they’ve done the last two years in developing players down there — Tye Kartye, Ryker Evans — is evidence of that, so they are part of the conversation about going forward with the staff here,” Bylsma said (via apnews.com).

Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis further supported Bylsma's statements:

“The job she’s done is the reason why we hired her. We didn’t hire her because she was female. We hired her because she was a good coach, She has an interesting background, not only skating but skill development and that’s a big part of what they’ve been able to do at Coachella Valley.”

Campbell's appointment as the NHL's first full-time female assistant coach could be a significant step forward for gender diversity in ice hockey.

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