Firebirds Appoint Jessica Campbell as AHL’s First Female Assistant Coach.

The Coachella Valley Firebirds announced on Tuesday that Jessica Campbell will be their first assistant coach, making history as the first woman to hold a full-time coaching position in the AHL. No woman has ever held such a position in the NHL.

The Firebirds, the NHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken, will begin their inaugural season this fall as the AHL’s 32nd team.

Last month, the Firebirds appointed Dan Bylsma as head coach. Campbell is also coaching at the 2022 Rangers Development Camp this summer.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Jessica to the Kraken organization as an assistant coach with the Coachella Valley Firebirds,” said Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis. “Her high-level playing experience is evident in her coaching. Her knowledge and ability to teach will be valuable assets for developing our AHL prospects.”

Campbell, from Rocanville, Saskatchewan, played in two Under-18 World Junior Championships, captained her team in 2010, scored the gold medal-winning goal, and was named tournament MVP.

She also represented Canada at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.

“I am thrilled to join the Kraken organization and work with Dan and his staff for the inaugural season of Coachella Valley Firebirds hockey,” Campbell said. “I want to thank all the players and coaches who have helped me reach this level. I’m excited to bring a new coaching perspective and teach our players the skills needed to succeed. Building a team from the ground up is a rare opportunity, and I’m looking forward to getting started at Development Camp.”

Campbell, 30, played for the Calgary Inferno in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League from 2014 to 2017, winning the Clarkson Cup in 2016. She played college hockey at Cornell University, serving as team captain in her senior year.

“Jessica’s talent for developing players who understand all aspects of the game is her strength,” said Bylsma. “She has a passion for creating impactful players. We aim to build a culture of skill and tenacity for both the Firebirds and the Kraken, and Jessica’s vision will be instrumental in establishing that culture in our inaugural year.”

Campbell’s coaching career includes being an assistant coach for Germany at the 2022 IIHF Men’s World Championship, the first woman to join a national team’s coaching staff at the World Championship, working with the Tri-City Storm in the USHL, leading the Windy City Storm Girl’s Hockey program in Chicago, and serving as an assistant coach and skills coach for the Nurnberg Ice Tigers in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.

The Firebirds will start their season in Seattle and are scheduled to play their first AHL game at Acrisure Arena in the Coachella Valley in December 2022.