Canadian Jessica Campbell will be the first woman coach in NHL history

Jessica Campbell

On Wednesday, the Seattle Kraken made a historic announcement naming Saskatchewan native Jessica Campbell as the team’s new assistant coach, making her the first woman in NHL history to land a spot on the coach’s bench. 

No stranger to coaching, Campbell brings with her an exhaustive resume of experience, most recently serving as assistant coach with Seattle’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds — a similar barrier-breaking role for her. 

“During our tenure in Coachella Valley, I saw first-hand Jessica’s commitment to player development,” said Seattle Kraken Head Coach Dan Bylsma. “Her ability to establish relationships with her players, specifically Tye Kartye, Shane Wright, and Ryker Evans, was an important factor in this hire. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with her at the NHL level.”

Before becoming a coach, Campbell gained experience on the ice, playing for Calgary in the CWHL and the Division 1 league, the top women’s professional league in Sweden. 

The historic announcement immediately sparked a wave of positivity and support online, with Campbell receiving an overwhelming outpouring of encouragement from followers and fans alike. 

“History made with the first ever female coach behind an NHL bench in any capacity as Jessica Campbell is brought on as assistant coach with the Seattle Kraken,” said one man on X. “A deserving hire too, not just a hire to get a woman in there either. She has put in the work and earned this.”

“This is an important day for our organization,” added Seattle Kraken General Manager Ron Francis. “We’re bringing in valuable coaching experience to our staff and are confident that both Bob [Woods, assistant coach,] and Jessica will make an immediate impact for our team.”

As the team gears up for the next season, we know we will be cheering Campbell on from the stands, excited to witness her historic journey unfold!