By Spencer Seymour
In case you missed it, the Calgary Flames need a new head coach. Bill Peters resigned following revelations he uttered a racist slur towards former NHLer Akim Aliu. Out of curiosity, I started investigating who might be the new bench boss in Calgary and a few names stood out at first. However, when the name Cassie Campbell-Pascall came up, it stopped my thought process completely.
Campbell-Pascall works for Sportsnet and just so happens to cover the Flames. This gives her a unique edge over most other candidates, outside of Calgary’s assistant coaches. She knows the market and the fanbase. She understands the pressures that they put on their coach.
If you’re not a Flames fan, you may recognize the name. She has played in three Olympics and seven World Championships. Furthermore, she has two gold medals and a silver from the Olympics, plus six golds and one silver at the Worlds. And she wasn’t just there for the ride at the Olympics, she was the team captain. In 2007, she was the first woman inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 2012, she was welcomed into the Order of Hockey in Canada and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. And in 2016, she was named a member of the Order of Canada. She understands this sport and has played it at the highest level. Being the captain for Canada, she also knows how to lead a team. How many more accolades could you add to a resume?
She would also be the first-ever female head coach in the NHL. In 2018, the Toronto Maple Leafs hired Hayley Wickenheiser to join their player development staff. GM Kyle Dubas stated that it wasn’t because Wickenheiser was female, but because she’s one of the greatest to ever play the game and the best fit. That’s why I am suggesting Campbell-Pascall. I can’t see a better fit for the Flames right now. I don’t want to downplay the aspect of having the first female coach, though. With less than a month remaining before the year 2020, it’s astonishing that we still haven’t seen a female head coach. It wasn’t even until this year that a female was hired in a full-time coaching position at all. We as a society are trying to tell kids that gender isn’t a barrier to their dreams. However, those words mean nothing if they don’t see it being practiced. It’s a cultural and ideological oversight that hasn’t fully evolved yet. But this is the chance to evolve the culture.
One of the things that made Bianca Andreescu’s rise so special was that young kids watched Bianca defeat Serena Williams and wanted to play tennis because of it. The NBA has taken great strides in this area, especially in Toronto with Raptors’ President Masai Ujiri, who has not only added several women to the organization but also pushed for more teams to hire women.
I don’t want girls going to DCVI or Little Falls, or anywhere for that matter, to not dream as big as possible. But hearing what is possible isn’t as effective as seeing what is possible. This a chance to show what is possible by shattering that glass ceiling. And who better to shatter this glass ceiling than a woman who made a career out of doing just that?