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Arizona Coyotes Hire Dawn Braid, Believed to Be NHL's First Full-Time Female Coach

Braid previously worked on a part-time basis for a number of teams over the years, including the Flames and Leafs.

In May 2016, the Arizona Coyotes then 26-year-old John Chayka, making him the youngest general manager in NHL History. On Wednesday, the Coyotes made history again, hiring Dawn Braid, who's believed to be the first woman to become a full-time coach in the NHL. She will be the team's skating coach.

Both the Coyotes and a spokesperson for the NHL were unable to confirm to VICE Sports whether Braid is in fact the first female to get a full-time gig in the league. The hiring is, nonetheless, another big step forward for women attempting to break into the male-dominated Big Four sports.


"It's something that I've wanted to see happen," Braid said in a statement. "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."

Braid, who won't travel with the team or be behind the bench during games, is still free to work with other teams despite the hire, Coyotes assistant general manager Chris Hearn told VICE Sports.

The skating connoisseur worked on a part-time basis with the Coyotes in 2015 after previous stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames. Braid also spent seven years as the director of skating development at the Athletes Training Center in Mississauga, Ontario, where she instructed a variety of skaters, including New York Islanders captain John Tavares.

Other women have been employed by NHL teams, such as Barbara Underhill—currently a skating development consultant with the Leafs—but none are believed to have had a full-time position.

Braid's hiring comes two years after the San Antonio Spurs' groundbreaking hire of Becky Hammon as an assistant coach. And earlier this year the Buffalo Bills named Kathryn Smith as their quality control-special teams coach. Both women became the first full-time female coaches in their leagues. Progress.