Celebrating Community Successes

By:  Wendy McLeod
October, 2022
Issue: 69

Local Women Breaking Hockey Barriers

Photo Credit: Coachella Valley Firebirds. Jessica Campbell spent a significant chunk of her minor hockey career in Melville.
Great strides are being made at high levels of hockey by two women who have ties to the Parkland Valley District.

Beginning with Jessica Campbell, who broke professional hockey barriers after being named the first female assistant coach in the American Hockey League.

Campbell, who spent many years in Melville, is now part of the coaching staff of the Coachella Valley Firebirds, the affiliate team to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.

“I am excited to bring in a new coaching perspective and be able to teach our players the necessary tools and skills to impact players every night while raising the bar for what we can achieve as a team this season,” said Campbell in a press release from the Firebirds when announcing her hiring. “Having the opportunity to help build a culture and team from the beginning is something that doesn’t come around often and I’m really looking forward to getting started at Development Camp.”
Photo Credit: Instagram. Campbell played for the Canadian women's hockey team that earned silver at the 2015 world championship in Malmo, Sweden.
Her appointment to assistant coach came just weeks after she was the first woman on the coaching staff at the men’s world championship in Finland where she was an assistant for Germany. Campbell also served as a guest coach at the New York Rangers summer development camp.

“Jessica’s skill and talent for developing players who understand all aspects of the game and what it takes to be successful on and off the ice is her strength,” said Firebirds Head Coach Dan Bylsma. “She has a passion for developing all aspects of the game and creating players with impact. We are focused on building a culture of impact, skill, and tenacity for both the Coachella Valley Firebirds and the Seattle Kraken and know Jessica’s talent and vision will help us establish that culture in our inaugural year.”

Just a portion of Campbell’s resume includes work with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm in development plus the Windy City Storm Girls’ Hockey program in Chicago. She was also invited to be a skills coach for the Nurnberg Ice Tigers in the German Elite League. She was moved up to assistant coach when she arrived, which helped to ignite her career behind the bench.
Photo Credit: Facebook. Brigette Lacquette is the first Indigenous woman to scout for the National Hockey League.
Also making strides in the hockey industry is Brigette Lacquette who was named the first Indigenous woman as a scout in the NHL. Her employer being the Chicago Blackhawks.

With ties to the Cote First Nation, Lacquette was also the first First Nations woman to play hockey for Canada in the Winter Olympics back in 2018.

She earned an Olympic silver medal that year in PyeongChang but wasn’t named to the roster for 2022. She made her IIHF Women’s World Championship debut in 2015, winning the first of two back-to-back silver meals with Canada. She was also named the 2017 Team Manitoba Top Female Athlete.
Photo Credit: Facebook. Laquette is described as having an excellent hockey mind. She still suits up for Calgary as part of the Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association. 
The Blackhawks hired Laquette ahead of the 2021-2022 season when they were replenishing their scouting staff after COVID-19. She’s been scouting all players who have been drafted into the NHL and currently play in the WHL with a focus on teams in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and even British Columbia.

She joins a small, but elite group of female scouts in the NHL which includes Cammi Granato (Seattle Kraken), Blake Bolden (Los Angeles Kings), and Meghan Hunter (Chicago Blackhawks).

Parkland Valley Sport Culture and Recreation District is a non-profit voluntary organization working with communities building capacity and creating a strong network of support through sport, culture and recreation.

Recipients are encouraged to forward Applause! to other members of their organizations.

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Sheila Hryniuk
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Wendy McLeod
ph: 306-786-6585

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ph: 306-786-6586


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