One Of The New Girls In The NHL
Aug 01, 2022Posted by james

A woman on the ice to coach hockey players was a rare sight 25 years ago. At that time, one or two would be seen at rinks on Long Island, teaching speed skating and other skills to boys from eight to 13 years of age. Whenever the young players saw the ladies on the ice, their eyes would roll. The reaction had nothing to do with getting schooled in hockey by a girl. The boys just wanted to play and they knew that these coaches were going to work them until they barely could make it off the ice for the comforts of the locker room.

Well, girls and women on the ice are much more common now at all levels of hockey, including in the NHL. Soon after the New York Rangers season ended, the team hired Jessica Campbell as a coach for the recently held development camp. While only 29 years old, Jessica carried with her strong credentials to work with future NHL players. She was the first woman to coach in a men’s tournament when she served as an assistant for Team Germany at the World Championship. Previously, she had been captain for Team Canada in international competition and played four years at Cornell University. Jessica has earned MVP and many other awards.

Since her playing days ended, a personal goal for Jessica has been to coach the game she loves. To her, it’s not about the women’s game or the men’s game. It’s about player development at all ages and all levels. Jessica’s long-range game plan did include working with pro athletes and she has learned that her transition to the men’s pro game offers unique challenges. Jessica feels that she has the voice and perspective to meet these challenges and that the older boys will embrace her contributions as they develop and advance in their careers.

Jessica prepared for this opportunity with the Rangers by focusing on learning, growing and remaining on top of her game first as a player and then as a coach. Her style, influenced by Doug Derraugh, who served as her coach at Cornell, relies on one simple yet critical principle that is valuable in all sports and in all other areas of life at all levels—strong communication.

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