Jessica Campbell could be Seattle Kraken candidate as assistant, new coach says

May 28, 2024, 1:34 PM

Seattle Kraken Jessica Campbell Dan Bylsma...

Jessica Campbell and Dan Bylsma work on the Seattle Kraken bench during a 2023 preseason game. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond)

(AP Photo/Jason Redmond)

SEATTLE (AP) — New Seattle Kraken coach Dan Bylsma said current Coachella Valley assistant coach Jessica Campbell could be a candidate for a similar position with the NHL club.

Seattle Kraken name Dan Bylsma as their next head coach

Bylsma has been the head coach at Coachella Valley for the past two seasons with Campbell as one of his assistants. Bylsma said Campbell and fellow Coachella Valley assistant Stu Bickell will be among a group in consideration for a role with the Kraken.

Bylsma said Tuesday he intends to speak with current Seattle assistants Jay Leach and Dave Lowery about their possible futures with the team, but there are also talks about coaches that could be brought in from the outside.

“Jessica’s been part of that conversation. Stu Bickell has been part of that conversation and what they’ve done the last two years in developing players down there — Tye Kartye, Ryker Evans — is evidence of that, so they are part of the conversation about going forward with the staff here,” Bylsma said.

Campbell became the first female full-time assistant coach in the AHL when she was hired by the team before the start of its first season. There has not been a female full-time assistant on the bench at the NHL level.

Emily Engel-Natzke was hired by the Washington Capitals as the first woman in the role of video coordinator in June 2022.

Seattle general manager Ron Francis said there haven’t been any conversations with Campbell yet, only internal talks with Bylsma about potential options.

“The job she’s done is the reason why we hired her. We didn’t hire her because she was female. We hired her because she was a good coach,” Francis said. “She has an interesting background, not only skating but skill development and that’s a big part of what they’ve been able to do at Coachella Valley.”

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