Dawn Braid Becomes First Female Full-Time Coach in NHL

The Arizona Coyotes have named Dawn Braid the team’s new skating coach, making her the NHL’s first full-time female coach.

Braid isn’t new to the NHL, she worked part-time with the Coyotes last season and has previously been a consultant with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames.

“It’s something that I’ve wanted to see happen,” she said. “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.”

Prior to her time in the NHL she spent seven years at Athletes Training Center as director of skating development, where she trained many of the NHL’s best, including John Tavares.

“We feel that Dawn can provide a real competitive advantage for our team,” said general manager John Chayka. “The game is getting faster and it’s all about skating. A lot of times, when you’re drafting a young player, skating is an area that they need to improve upon.

“Now we have someone who can help them with that. Dawn is someone who we feel is at the top of her field so we thought it was imperative to hire her. She’s got a great personality and the players work hard for her and respect her knowledge. The bottom line is that she gets results, and that’s the key thing. Dawn is someone who Tip [Dave Tippett] and I respect, and we feel that she’s going to be a very important asset for us.”

It’s a historic moment in the NHL, even if it feels like it’s coming a little late. The move comes as other major sports have begun to hire female coaches as well, paving the way for the first female head coach in of a major men’s sports team. The Buffalo Bills made Kathryn Smith the NFL’s first full-time assistant last season. In the NBA, there are currently two female assistant coaches, Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs and Nancy Lieberman of the Sacramento Kings.

“It’s a proud day for our organization,” the team tweeted out Wednesday.

The hiring was announced the same day that the team announced they have added Mike Van Ryn and Steve Potvin to the team’s coaching staff. Van Ryn will serve as development coach, while Potvin was named the team’s skills coach.