Jessica Campbell becomes first NHL female coach


  • The Seattle Kraken hired Jessica Campbell as the NHL’s first female assistant coach
  • Other female sports coaches include Becky Hammon (first female NBA assistant)
  • Read more about Seattle’s historic coaching hire below

The Seattle Kraken has made history by appointing Jessica Campbell as an assistant coach, making her the first woman to hold a full-time coaching role in the National Hockey League.

Campbell will become the assistant to recently hired Kraken head coach Dan Bylsma. The two previously coached in the AHL together and will now be reunited in Emerald City.

This milestone represents a significant advancement for gender equality in professional sports.

Campbell’s Impressive Background

At 32, Campbell comes to the position with an impressive background. She was previously an assistant coach for the Coachella Valley Firebirds, the Kraken’s AHL affiliate. Under her guidance, the team reached the Calder Cup Finals in their first season.

Her coaching credentials also include a stint at the international level; she was the first woman to serve as an assistant coach at the IIHF Men’s World Championship, working with Germany’s team in 2022.

Campbell “Incredible Honored”

“I am incredibly honored and grateful for this opportunity,” Campbell stated. “I have devoted my career to my passion for hockey, and achieving this role is a dream come true. I am excited to collaborate with the talented team and staff in Seattle and contribute to the Kraken’s success.”

The Kraken’s choice to hire Campbell underscores her qualifications and expertise. General Manager Ron Francis highlighted her strengths, noting, “Jessica’s deep understanding of hockey, her leadership abilities, and her capacity to connect with players make her an ideal addition to our coaching staff.”

Campbell’s journey to this landmark achievement began in Rocanville, Saskatchewan, where she played hockey with boys due to the absence of girls’ programs. She excelled in college hockey at Cornell University and played professionally in Canada and Sweden. As a player, she represented Canada at the IIHF Women’s World Championship.

Campbell Joins Select Female Sports Coaches

Campbell’s appointment resonates beyond the NHL. In recent years, women have gained ground in coaching roles across various professional sports leagues.

Becky Hammond, one of the female sports coachesBecky Hammon was named the first full-time female assistant coach in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. The NFL saw its first female coach when Jen Welter joined the Arizona Cardinals as an intern in 2015. In 2020, Kim Ng broke new ground as the first female general manager in MLB history with the Miami Marlins.

As Campbell steps into her role with the Kraken, she represents the hopes and dreams of many women who aspire to coach at the highest levels of professional hockey. Her appointment sends a powerful message that talent and commitment are not confined by gender.

Historic Hiring

The Seattle Kraken’s hiring of Jessica Campbell as an assistant coach is not only a historic event for the NHL but also a significant step towards achieving gender equality in sports.

As more women like Campbell break barriers and shatter glass ceilings, the landscape of professional coaching will continue to change, fostering a more inclusive and diverse future in athletics.