SEATTLE -- Jessica Campbell joined a growing group of women to coach an NHL game when she was behind the bench for the Seattle Kraken’s preseason game against the Calgary Flames at Climate Pledge Arena on Monday.

The 31-year-old followed Kori Cheverie in reaching the milestone. Cheverie, head coach of the new Professional Women’s Hockey League franchise in Montreal, was a guest coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

“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.”

Hired as a full-time assistant coach for Coachella Valley of the American Hockey League on July 4, 2022, Campbell helped the Kraken’s affiliate reach the Calder Cup Final in their first season in 2022-23. She has been coaching on-ice sessions at Kraken training camp the past week and was behind the bench with Dan Bylsma for 3-2 shootout loss Monday while Seattle coach Dave Hakstol worked its split-squad game at Calgary.

Campbell’s influence can be felt throughout the Kraken organization, especially among those who played for Coachella Valley last season.

“She deserves being in the spotlight,” said forward Andrew Poturalski, who was in the lineup for Seattle on Monday. “She brings such a different side of things, and she’s really creative and just [brings] 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.”

It wasn’t Campbell’s first trailblazing experience in her coaching career. When she was hired by Coachella Valley, she became the first woman to be an assistant coach in the AHL. She previously served as an assistant coach for Germany at the 2022 IIHF Men’s World Championship, also becoming the first woman to coach at that tournament.

Campbell began her hockey career as a child playing with and against boys in her hometown of Rocanville, Saskatchewan, where girls hockey wasn’t an option for her at the time.

“I grew up as a young player dreaming of playing in the NHL because that’s all I knew,” Campbell said. “I never imagined being able to coach at this level.”

After developing into a star forward, she went on to play four years for the Cornell University women’s ice hockey team and reached the NCAA Frozen Four in 2010.

After graduating, Campbell played professionally for the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and for the Malmo Redhawks of the Swedish Women’s Hockey League. She also skated for Canada at the 2015 IIHF Women’s World Championship.

Soon after Campbell’s playing career ended, she started working as a skating and skills coach. That launched her on a coaching career that has taken her back to Malmo, as well as to the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League and to the Nurnberg Ice Tigers of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she instructed a group of NHL veterans in Kelowna, British Columbia, before being hired by Coachella Valley.

Her dreams of reaching the NHL as a player didn’t come to fruition, but Campbell is marching toward a new goal of coaching at the highest level.

“It’s just putting my head down, doing the work, and where it takes me, it takes me,” Campbell said. “I’m obviously honored to be on this path and continuing to just do the good work that it takes to hopefully reach that goal.”

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