The NHL Coaches' Association is launching an initiative to help the development of female hockey coaches at all levels of the game.
The NHLCA Female Coaches Development Program is a year-long initiative designed to support female coaches in areas such as skills development, leadership strategies, communication tactics, networking and career advancement opportunities. It's scheduled to debut at the 2020 NHLCA Global Coaches' Clinic, held annually at the NHL Draft, on June 25 and will continue through the 2020-21 season.
The cornerstones of the program are providing continuing education opportunities for female coaches, including mentorship and job shadowing events led by NHL coaches, as well as a host of digital support tools and resources. Another core objective is ensuring that program participants are supported in growing their own network of coaches, male and female, within their individual communities.
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"We're excited for the meaningful impact this initiative can have on the development of female hockey coaches and in turn the game as a whole," NHL Coaches' Association president Lindsay Artkin said. "Female coaches are a critical component of supporting the growth of hockey at the grassroots level, and it is essential to the game to diversify the current pool of hockey coaches. We intend for this program to be an impactful step forward in doing so."
Kim Davis, NHL executive vice president of social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs, said coaching is an important element to developing girls hockey.
"Our research suggests there are three critical elements to accelerating the growth of girls hockey: access to inclusive programming in early childhood, casual and aspirational pathways in hockey development and quality female coaching and role models along that journey," she said. "We can close the gender gap in hockey with the right partnerships and strategies, and this NHLCA Female Coaches Development Program is advancing equity in a way that will produce dividends for the sport long term."
The inaugural year of the program will include 50 female hockey coaches selected from across North America, many in partnership with their local NHL teams and minor hockey associations. Ensuring there is a strong connection to the communities where the coaches are based is a cornerstone of the program and instrumental in fostering the growth of their networks.
"We are so fortunate to have the full support of our 200 NHL coaches in rolling out this program," Artkin said. "It is truly inspiring to see the passion our coaches have in taking time to support the development of other coaches and give back to the communities from which they themselves first started coaching. The potential for this program to grow in the years ahead is unlimited."