Jessica Campbell becomes the NHL’s first full-time female assistant coach with Kraken’s promotion.

Jessica Campbell was promoted to Seattle Kraken assistant coach on Wednesday, becoming the first woman to hold the job full-time with an NHL team.

Campbell spent the past two seasons as an assistant with Seattle’s AHL affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, under Don Bylsma, helping them reach the Calder Cup Finals in back-to-back years.

He held a variety of responsibilities with the Firebirds – overseeing the forward and power play, while also doing adept work on the flanks.

A former top national team player in Canada with a background as a world-class skating coach, Campbell is credited with helping develop many of the company’s young prospects. The most notable of them is forward Ty Cartier, an undrafted free agent who was named the AHL’s rookie of the year in 2023 while with the Firebirds and graduated to a role with the Kraken last season.

Campbell joins Emily Engel-Natzke — a video coach for the Washington Capitals — as the only women to serve as traveling full-time members of the NHL coaching staff. Other women have been hired by NHL teams or guest coaches and trainers in temporary or part-time jobs, but Campbell will be the first on the bench full-time.

When hired by the Coachella Valley in July 2022, Campbell became the first woman to be a full-time assistant coach in the AHL and the first woman to coach at the Men’s IIHF World Hockey Championship while on the German bench. As an assistant for the 2022 tournament in Finland.

He worked as an assistant coach and skills coach for the Nürnberg Ice Tigers in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.

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Campbell was the first assistant hired when Bylsma took over the Firebirds, and made an immediate impact at the top of the organization due to his unique talent.

“The work she’s done is the reason we hired her,” Kraken general manager Ron Francis told reporters in May. “We didn’t hire her because she was a girl. We hired her because she was a good trainer. She has an interesting background, not just skating but skill development, which is a big part of what they’re able to do in the Coachella Valley.

Bylsma was named head coach by Kraken on May 28, replacing Dave Hakstol.

“During our tenure in the Coachella Valley, I witnessed firsthand Jessica’s dedication to player development,” Bylsma said in a release from the team on Wednesday. “His ability to build relationships with his players, especially Ty Cortije, Shane Wright and Riker Evans, was a key factor in this job. I look forward to continuing to work with him at the NHL level.”

Campbell joins Bob Woods and Dave Lowry as assistants on his staff in Seattle.

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(Photo: Martin Meissner/Associated Press)

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