Emily Engel-Natzke Makes NHL History as the First Female Full-Time Coach, Joining Washington Capitals

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Emily Engel-Natzke becoming the first female full-time coach in the NHL
Emily Engel-Natzke becoming the first female full-time coach in the NHL

Hershey Bears Emily Engel-Natzke

Emily Engel-Natzke is breaking boundaries as the first woman to hold a full-time position on an NHL coaching staff.

The Washington Capitals promoted the 31-year-old to the role of video coordinator this week. Engel-Natzke, who had worked with the Capitals' minor league team the Hershey Bears for the past two seasons as their video coach, said she was thrilled to jump into the role.

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"It is obviously really exciting, just the opportunity to work with [coach] Peter [Laviolette], his staff and Brett Leonhardt, who has been a video coach for 10 years now, so I'm really grateful," she said, according to NBC.

"My time in Hershey has been awesome and I think it has really prepared me for this opportunity, so I'm really excited to get down to DC and join the staff," Engel-Natzke continued.

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As for how it feels to be the first woman to hold a full-time coaching position in the NHL, she said, "It's kind of surreal, I guess."

"I've never kind of really looked at myself in that lens and I think if you may have asked me a week ago, I wouldn't have wanted it to be a big deal," she told NHL.com. "But with everything that's going on kind of geopolitically, I think I'm more so just honored to be, I guess, the first. Hopefully that just opens the door even further for people who want to get into this job and this profession."

Engel-Natzke began working as the full-time video coach for University of Wisconsin men's hockey coach Tony Granato in 2017 after assisting with the men's and women's programs there for several years, according to the Associated Press.

"This was earned and deserved," coach Laviolette told the AP.

Washington Capitals
Washington Capitals

Justin K. Aller/NHLI via Getty Washington Capitals

"We feel like we hired really a qualified person that we brought into the organization two years ago and came in and did an outstanding job, and that's what development is all about. For me, we got the best person and that's the most important thing."

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Engel-Natzke will get to start her first season with the Capitals later this summer during training camp, before the NHL kicks off the 2022-23 campaign in October. The Capitals are looking to win their second Stanley Cup after four postseasons of disappointing first-round exits.

This past Sunday, meanwhile, was a huge night for NHL as the Colorado Avalanche beat the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 to win the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals and finish out the season. They are now the winners of three Stanley Cup titles in their history, having won in 1996 and 2001.

With the win, Colorado ended Tampa Bay's bid to win three consecutive Stanley Cups, a feat only achieved by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and the New York Islanders, and well before the current salary cap era.

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