Kori Cheverie, the head coach of the new Professional Women’s Hockey League franchise in Montreal was first on Sunday with the Penguins, followed by Jessica Campbell, assistant coach for the American Hockey League Coachella Valley Firebirds, on Monday night for the Kraken.
Both took to NHL benches for the first time, with Campbell coaching behind the Seattle players with Kraken associate coach Dave Lowry and Firebirds head coach Dan Bylsma.
Cheverie was a guest coach on the bench for the Pittsburgh Penguins while Campbell was just stepping up in the preseason for an organization she’s already working with.
“It’s obviously a tremendous opportunity, and I’m honored to be where I am,” Campbell said. “It’s really a humbling feeling to be part of the Kraken organization. I truly mean that.”
Campbell helped the Kraken’s AHL affiliate reach the Calder Cup Final in their first season in 2022-23 after being hired the previous summer. She’s been coaching on-ice sessions at training camp this past week at Kraken Community Iceplex.
“Being in Coachella and seeing the framework that the Kraken set, from the veteran players to the rookie players and the competitiveness and just the talent overall, obviously that’s what we’re striving for everyday in our locker room and our guys bring that, and to see them get the opportunities and to be able to bring that to the table here at camp is awesome, I’m excited to see that for them,” she said.
One might say Campbell’s a source of inspiration and hope for other young women with similar coaching aspirations, especially since she’s making a difference and having a solid impact at the AHL level. She’s the first female assistant in that league’s history.
Campbell played youth hockey in Canada in boys leagues, played college hockey at Cornell in upstate New York, then in the previous Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) and then in Europe. She also coached in Sweden after playing there. She was the first woman to be on the bench as an assistant coach during the men’s World Championship in 2022, working with the German team.
“She deserves being in the spotlight,” Firebirds and Kraken forward Andrew Poturalski said. “She brings such a different side of things, and she’s really creative and a totally different perspective than what I’ve been used to. She’s helped all of us forwards down there in Coachella, and especially on the power play. So it’s really cool to be a part of that and have her behind the bench.”
The sky’s the limit as they say. Campbell’s essentially the first to go up this fulltime ladder and the NHL potentially awaits.
“It’s just putting my head down, doing the work, and where it takes me, it takes me,” Campbell said.