Hockey may be Canada’s sport but it’s no secret that it’s also kind of a boys’ club. Yes, women play hockey–they have the Canadian Women’s Hockey League–but the NHL is exclusive to men. Well, until now.
Yesterday, the Arizona Coyotes announced their new coaching staff for the 2016/2017 season and there was one name of particular interest on the list. Dawn Braid is the organization’s new skating coach, making her the first full-time female coach in the NHL.
i LOVE this press release so much. it matters that they announced Dawn Braid’s hire just like any other coach. https://t.co/QY4KJj1GIU
— nicolle (@rogueclown) August 24, 2016
The organization announced just like they would a male coach which is pretty awesome. Braid also responded to questions like it wasn’t a big deal, just a job she got.
‘I’m very excited about this opportunity with the Coyotes.I’m looking forward to working with Dave Tippett and his coaching staff and all the great players in the organization’ she told NHL.com.
It’s a proud day for our organization.
Please join us in welcoming Dawn Braid as our full-time Skating Coach. pic.twitter.com/zEwrAxck2z
— Yotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) August 24, 2016
With regards to the obvious (though arbitrary) fact she is a woman doing a job typically undertaken by men she said, ‘It’s something that I’ve wanted to see happen. The fact that they respect what I do enough to name me as a full-time coach, or to name me as the first female coach in the NHL, I take a ton of pride in that. I’ve worked very hard for this opportunity. It’s been going on for years and I just look forward to going even further with it.’
— Dave Vest (@davest4yotes) August 25, 2016
The players she’s worked with praised her as a coach and dwelled little on her gender. Are we growing as a society right now? Whoa.
Braid has worked as a coach around the NHL in part-time positions for a while. She was with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Anaheim Ducks, the Buffalo Sabres and the Calgary Flames before working part time for the Coyotes last year. She was also the director of skating development at the Athletes Training Center. Basically, this woman knows her way around an ice rink. And she is not to be messed with.
There have been a few other major sports organizations recently recruiting female coaching talent too. The Buffalo Bills hired Kathryn Smith last year, making her the first assistant coach in the NFL and the NBA has two female assistant coaches in Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs and Nancy Lieberman of the Sacramento Kings. We’re coming up, ladies.
So what does this mean? Well, for the Arizona Coyotes it means they have an impressive new skating coach. For sports, it’s another woman breaking into a world that until now was reserved for men. We’re looking forward to seeing more of that in the future. Maybe some female players are next? Who knows!