MOOSE JAW, Sask. — The Moose Jaw Warriors are believed to have hired the first female coach in Western Hockey League history.
Olivia Howe, a native of Moose Jaw, Sask., has been named a coaching assistant with her hometown club after serving as a guest coach during training camp.
The WHL has no records of any other female coach in the league’s history.
"It’s been really surprising the feedback and reaction I’ve got," Howe said. "I’m really excited to start here. It’s a great opportunity. Being from Moose Jaw, it’s just awesome."
Howe played NCAA hockey at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., from 2012 to 2016, winning a national championship in 2014. After her time at Clarkson, she returned to her home province to begin her coaching career with a junior women’s team.
The 25-year-old Howe is a graduate of the Notre Dame Hounds program in Saskatchewan. She helped the Hounds win the Esso Cup national championship in 2011.
She joins a coaching staff led by last year’s national junior team coach, Tim Hunter.
"It’s great to have another perspective in the dressing room and in the coach’s office — a female that’s played at the highest level in the NCAA and won a national championship," Hunter said.
Warriors general manager Alan Millar said Howe will be "an eye in the sky" during games, working from the press box.
Howe is looking forward to expanding her hockey resume.
"It’s definitely a lot different coming from the female game, so (there’s) a lot to learn," she said. "Different styles of play. The way the women play the game, obviously, no checking and whatnot. There’s a bunch of factors that add into this. It’s going to be really exciting to learn a lot with the team."