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Campbell named Firebirds’ assistant coach, will be first female to serve behind AHL bench



The Coachella Valley Firebirds, the 32nd AHL team debuting in fall 2022 and the affiliate of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, have announced the hiring of Jessica Campbell as its first assistant coach in team history.

Campbell will be the first female assistant coach in the AHL.

“We’re very excited to welcome Jessica to the Kraken organization as an assistant coach with the Coachella Valley Firebirds,” said Kraken general manager Ron Francis. “She played the game at a high level and that experience is evident in the way she coaches. Her knowledge of the game and ability to communicate and teach will be important assets in the development of our prospects in the American Hockey League.”

“I am thrilled to join the Kraken organization and work with Dan and his staff for the inaugural season of Coachella Valley Firebirds hockey,” added Campbell. “I would like to thank the players and coaches I have worked with along the way that have helped me reach this level. I am excited to bring in a new coaching perspective and to be able to teach our players the necessary tools and skills to impact players every night while raising the bar for what we can achieve as a team this season. Having the opportunity to help build a culture and team from the beginning is something that doesn’t come around often and I’m really looking forward to getting started at Development Camp.”

“Jessica’s skill and talent for developing players who understand all aspects of the game and what it takes to be successful on and off the ice is her strength,” said Firebirds head coach Dan Bylsma. “She has a passion for developing all aspects of the game and creating players with impact. We are focused on building a culture of impact, skill, and tenacity for both the Coachella Valley Firebirds and the Seattle Kraken and know Jessica’s talent and vision will help us establish that culture in our inaugural year.”

Campbell served as an assistant coach for Germany at the 2022 IIHF Men’s World Championship, becoming the first woman to join the coaching staff of a national team participating in the World Championship. This past season, Campbell joined the USHL’s Tri-City Storm, actively heading the Windy City Storm girls hockey program in Chicago while also serving as an assistant coach and skills coach for the Nurnberg Ice Tigers in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL).

As a player, the Rocanville, Sask., native represented Canada in two Under-18 World Junior Championships, serving as captain at the 2010 event, scoring the gold medal-winning goal, and earning tournament MVP. She also played five games for Canada at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.

Campbell played three seasons (2014-17) for the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), winning the Clarkson Cup in 2016. Prior to playing professionally, Campbell skated four years (2010-14) at Cornell University, serving as captain in her senior season.

The puck will drop for the Firebirds’ inaugural season at Acrisure Arena, the newest world-class concert and sports venue designed specifically for the Coachella Valley, in December 2022.

Photo provided by Coachella Valley Firebirds

(July 5, 2022)

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