The upcoming 2024-25 season will mark an historic one for women's rights and the National Hockey League (NHL).

The Seattle Kraken have announced the hiring of Jessica Campbell as the league's first-ever full-time female coach.

The 32-year-old native of Rocanville, Saskatchewan will be behind the bench as a part of new head coach Dan Bylsma's staff after serving as an assistant with the Kraken's American Hockey League affiliate in Coachella Valley, California for the past two seasons. Prior to which, she was a skills coach for the Nürnberg Ice Tigers of the professional German Hockey League (the Deutsche Eishockey Liga).

Campbell played collegiate hockey at Cornell University and went on the skate with the Calgary Inferno of the professional Canadian Women's Hockey League and the Malmö Redhawks of Sweden's Damettan women's pro league.

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Seattle's hiring of Campbell marks yet another progressive move for women within the traditionally-male-dominated leagues of pro sports.

In 1992, French-Canadian goaltender Manon Rhéaume became the first woman to suit up for an NHL team when she tended the crease for the Tampa Bay Lightning during one period of an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues. She also played in a second pre-season game for the Lightning against the Boston Bruins that same year.

In addition to Rhéaume and Campbell, the NHL has also featured a female referee as well, when Massachusetts native, Katie Guay, officiated an NHL Prospects Tournament hosted by the Anaheim Ducks in Irvine, California in September, 2019.

Although the National Football League and National Basketball Association have already seen their debuts of full-time female coaches and officials, neither has yet to feature a woman player, not even in an exhibition game. Which might lead one to say that the NHL is perhaps the most progressive of the major professional sports leagues when it comes to gender equality.

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Gallery Credit: Kyle Matthews

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