ith the second year of the program now on the books, Artkin’s work is far from done. She already has plans underway to expand the program to incorporate one-on-one in-person shadowing opportunities next season in partnership with NHL franchises – an opportunity that will also include members of the BIPOC coaching program at the NHLCA, which runs along the same time frame.
Artkin admits that her tendency to focus on the day-to-day has sometimes made it difficult for her to stop and look around. If she did, she would see a landscape with fewer hills to climb and more trails – with more women walking them.
In the past few weeks alone, two women – both of whom have been part of the NHLCA’s female coaching development program since its inception – have made coaching history in men’s professional hockey. First, the Washington Capitals promoted Emily Engel-Natzke to video coordinator after spending the past two seasons as a video coach with their AHL club in Hershey. The hire made Engel-Natzke the first woman to join a full-time NHL coaching staff. A few days later, Jessica Campbell made history as the AHL’s first assistant coach when she was hired by the Seattle Kraken affiliate Coachella Valley Firebirds. Elsewhere in the league, teams are bringing in women as guest coaches at development camps and as player development consultants.
Earlier this month, Artkin was in Montreal, host city of the 2022 NHL Draft, where, after a two-year hiatus, the NHLCA once again brought together coaches from many walks of life for special in-person networking events. And this time, when she looked at the sea of faces there, she saw women looking at her. “I think what I take away the most is that these women feel listened to. They feel that their views and opinions matter. That they are validated within the coaching community, and that finally something is starting to be done for female coaches. So it’s amazing,” she said. “I’m so humbled that’s the reaction.”
Said Mirasolo: “There are women getting jobs in men’s hockey now, which is a direct result of what Lindsay is doing. And whether it’s the program itself or the fact that it brings visibility, education and awareness to men’s hockey, the NHL in particular, there’s no doubt that it’s a direct result of Lindsay Artkin and of the NHLCA Women’s Mentorship Program.
Artkin found her why. And she also found it how. Now, with an eye on women getting into NHL coaching, the question is simply when.