NHL

Who is Jessica Campbell? Meet Kraken’s new assistant coach, first woman to hold full-time NHL coaching job

The Kraken made their first coaching change in franchise history during the 2024 NHL offseason, but that wasn’t the only reason it was historic.

While Seattle brought Dan Bylsma aboard to replace Dave Hakstol, it was the team’s choice of Jessica Campbell as one of the team’s assistant coaches that raised eyebrows across the NHL.

Campbell enjoyed a quality, decade-long career as a hockey player before making the foray into coaching in 2017. She has since become a rising star and will now get a chance to prove herself on the Kraken’s bench.

Here’s what to know about the Kraken hiring Campbell and her playing career.

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Who is Jessica Campbell?

Jessica Campbell is a 32-year-old assistant coach hired by the Kraken after a successful stint as an assistant with the Coachella Valley Firebirds. She will be the first woman to hold a full-time assistant coach post in NHL history.

Campbell played 10 years of high-level hockey from 2010 to 2020. She starred at Cornell, helping lead the Big Red to a Frozen Four appearance, and did enough to earn herself a place in Team Canada’s international program.

Campbell led Canada’s under-18 team to a gold medal in the 2010 World Championships. She later was on the silver-medal-winning 2015 Team Canada that finished second place in the World Championships in Sweden.

In 2017, Campbell retired from the national team and switched to a career in coaching. She worked with the likes of Tyson Jost, Joel Edmundson and Natalie Spooner on their power skating abilities, and she eventually was hired by the Firebirds in 2022.

Two years later, Campbell has already proven that she deserves an NHL opportunity for her performance on the bench. And Seattle’s leadership team seems high on her potential.

“She has an interesting background not only with skating, but skill development,” Kraken general manager Ron Francis said of Campbell during a news conference, per ESPN. “That’s been a big part of what they’ve been able to do with Coachella Valley. She runs the power play, works with the forwards and works with everybody on helping improve their skating, their skill development and, as Dan said, both her and Stu Bickel have been a big part of their success down there.”

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Jessica Campbell teams

Campbell played for three teams in addition to the Canadian national team. They are as follows:

  • Cornell Big Red (NCAA, 2010-14)
  • Calgary Inferno (CWHL, 2014-17)
  • Malmö Redhawks (Damettan, 2019-20)

Campbell has also coached for four teams, including the Redhawks, for whom she played. Below is a look at her coaching connections.

  • Coachella Valley Firebirds
  • Team Germany
  • Nürnberg Ice Tigers
  • Malmö Redhawks

The Kraken will now be added to that list and mark the most impressive position Campbell has held to date.

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Jessica Campbell hockey stats

Campbell played 197 games combined during her time in the NCAA and CWHL. She raked up 150 points, with exactly 75 goals and 75 assists.

Campbell posted a career-best 16 goals during the 2012-13 NCAA season with Cornell. She followed that up by logging a high-water mark in points (36) during her senior year.

Below is a breakdown of her college and professional stats.

Season Team Games Goals Assists Points
2010-11 Cornell Big Red 31 11 15 26
2011-12 Cornell Big Red 33 5 9 14
2012-13 Cornell Big Red 34 16 8 24
2013-14 Cornell Big Red 33 14 22 36
2014-15 Calgary Inferno 21 12 5 17
2015-16 Calgary Inferno 22 10 10 20
2016-17 Calgary Inferno 20 7 6 13
2019-20 Malmö Redhawks 5 10 2 12
Total 197 75 75 150

The Kraken are likely hoping Campbell’s solid scoring ability rubs off on some of their role players. The Firebirds scored an AHL-leading 252 goals during the regular season last year, so if she can help bring some of that production to the Kraken, they could be poised to make their deepest playoff run in franchise history.

Add in that Campbell helped the Firebirds reach the Calder Cup Finals — an event they lost 4-2 to Hershey — and it’s easy to see why the Kraken liked her enough to bring her on board full-time.

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