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Kraken's Jessica Campbell makes history as first female full-time NHL assistant coach

Mike Brehm

Jessica Campbell made history Wednesday when she was hired to join Dan Bylsma's coaching staff on the Seattle Kraken.

She becomes the first female full-time assistant coach in NHL history to work behind the bench

Campbell, 32, made similar history in the American Hockey League when Bylsma hired her as an assistant coach with the Coachella Valley Firebirds in 2022. Bylsma, a former Stanley Cup winner, is bringing Campbell with him to the NHL after being named Kraken coach in May.

She said in a news conference that she's honored by being the first, but her focus is on the job.

"I just know that if the team has success and my impact is a good one, it could potentially open the doors for others," she said.

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Coachella Valley Firebirds assistant coach Jessica Campbell talks to Firebirds forward Cameron Hughes (19) during practice in May.

Coachella Valley had success with Bylsma and Campbell, reaching the AHL's Calder Cup Finals the past two seasons.

“During our tenure in Coachella Valley, I saw firsthand Jessica’s commitment to player development,” Bylsma said. “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 joining Coachella Valley, Campbell was as an assistant coach and skills coach in 2021-22 for the Nürnberg Ice Tigers in Germany's top professional men’s league in Germany. She also was an assistant coach for Germany at the 2022 world championships.

Campbell played from 2010-14 at Cornell University, captaining the team her senior year. She played professionally in Canada and Sweden and was MVP of the 2010 under-18 world championships as Canada won gold.

"There's a long list of incredible women that are doing phenomenal jobs (in the NHL) in management, scouting, player development," she said. "I'm just excited to do my part now behind the bench."

Bylsma also named longtime NHL assistant Bob Woods to his coaching staff. The two spent a season together coaching the Buffalo Sabres.

Campbell and Woods join Dave Lowry behind the bench next season. The rest of the staff includes goaltending coach Steve Briere, video coach Tim Ohashi and video assistant Brady Morgan.

“This is an important day for our organization,” Kraken general manager Ron Francis said. “We’re bringing in valuable coaching experience to our staff and are confident that both Bob and Jessica will make an immediate impact for our team.”

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