Jessica Campbell chosen to coach during New York Rangers Development Camp

June 23, 2022, 10:50 am

Jessica Campbell, who grew up in Rocanville, will become the first woman in the history of the Original Six franchise to serve in this role.

On Tuesday, the New York Rangers announced that Rocanville’s Jessica Campbell will join the Rangers’ 2022 Development Camp as a coach, becoming the first woman in the history of the Original Six franchises to serve in such a role.

“It’s hard to even unpack the level of gratitude and excitement for the opportunity because I’ve been working hard the last two years to really establish myself at the pro level,” Campbell said. “I bring something unique and different to the table, and I’m confident and believe that that’s what is going to be my special value-add.”

As a player, Campbell’s resume is lengthy. The native of Rocanville skated for four years at Cornell, captaining the Big Red during her senior season, before playing professionally for the Calgary Inferno of the CWHL from 2014 through 2017. Prior to Cornell, Campbell represented Canada at two U-18 World Junior Championships, and in 2010, she captained Team Canada, scored the golden goal and was named tournament MVP.

This past year, Campbell made the transition to coaching, first with the Windy City Storm Girl’s Hockey Program in Chicago, then with the Nurnberg Ice Tigers in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), where she served as an assistant coach and skills coach.

This spring, Campbell joined Germany’s coaching staff at the Men’s World Championship, becoming the first woman to join the coaching staff of a national team participating in Worlds.

That’s where Campbell was discovered by Jed Ortmeyer, Director of Player Development at the Rangers, and Antti Miettinen, the Rangers’ Player Development Assistant, both of whom spearhead the club’s development camp.

“Thankfully, I had a good experience and the players have spoken highly of me in the media and in the follow-up stories about my time in Nuremberg with the coaching staff, so Antti and Jed took note of the things that were being said and the unique opportunity for me maybe to come in a do the same things with the Rangers,” Campbell said. “I think that the momentum from World Championships and my time coaching at the pro level in Germany was definitely what spearheaded all of the communication and obviously the meaningful connection to Antti out in Germany.”

A communications major at Cornell, Campbell has always applied what she learned in the classroom to how she coaches on the ice—and it’s those communications skills that she sees as her own differentiating factor.

“My approach is just to be a really strong communicator, to make sure my communication and my approach to player development makes complete sense to the game and to the situations that the players find themselves in,” Campbell said. “Anytime I’m teaching any skills or skating to any athletes at any level—I’ve been in their shoes, and I know the process and the thought processes that the players are going through. It’s my job to guide them, to add more tools to their tool belt, and that has to start with the game and adding value to their game.

The opportunity to coach in New York—a place that meant so much to her as a college player, and a city that quickly became her favorite in North America—makes all of this even sweeter.

Some of this has yet to sink in for Campbell - that she’ll be a part of a coaching staff for an NHL team, an Original Six team, a team that could soon rely on some of the players at this very development camp to make a difference in the future of the club.
But the opportunity is one she has long been preparing for, and one she is ready to seize.

“We as coaches have the opportunity to make that impact on the players in that five-day period, but also to do it in any unique way,” Campbell said. “I’m excited about the fact that I get to add to that experience for them and to be part of it, and hopefully continue the growth for me at the pro level.”

There will be a full feature interview with Jessica Campbell in next week’s World-Spectator.