A little revolution in the German team

Shows where to go: Jessica Campbell, assistant coach, at the strategy board in front of players of the German national ice hockey team.
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Shows where to go: Jessica Campbell, assistant coach, at the strategy board in front of players of the German national ice hockey team. © Imago / Hentschel

National coach Tony Soderholm relies on assistant Jessica Campbell to coach players in handling discs.

When the German national ice hockey team starts with a World Cup game against Canada in Helsinki this Friday (7.20pm/Sport1), there will be a young woman next to national coach Toni Söderholm, 44 – and she’s not a physiotherapist. . “To me, he’s an assistant coach,” Soderholm says. He puts 29-year-old Jessica Campbell of Canada on par with his other assistants: 65-year-old Tom Rowe, who in his main job coaches DEL club Nuremberg Ice Tigers, and 44-year-old Corey Murphy, former NHL defender. Soderholm is convinced: “She will greatly strengthen our coaching team. Jessica communicates and presents very well, she works hard and has a different perspective on how we can set the scenes of the game. As if in confirmation, he let Campbell teach the strategy at a recent public exercise.

But who is this Jessica Campbell anyway? In German ice hockey, she appeared only a month earlier. The series that led to it: Nuremberg Ice Tigers sporting director, former NHL player and North America well-known Stefan Ustorf, the former Canadian international who ended his career in 2020 with a guest appearance in Sweden and The focus began on one to focus on a new branch of ice hockey work: imparting skills, the specialized skills involved in handling discs.

Specialization in the sport is also increasing: after power skating instructors, there are now skill trainers. Technical instructor Campbell started in Nuremberg, Tom Rowe, the gang’s old warrior, an instructor with a conservative orientation, was impressed. He assisted him during the Games and recommended him to the national coach when he was offered a job with the national team by Söderholm.

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Soderholm says: “I talked to Tom about that, had six conversations with Jessica, listened to some players’ opinions before I made a decision.” It was a positive: The 29-year-old is on the team—a thirty-something in veterans like Corbinian Holzer and Moritz Müller and up-and-coming NHL players like Tim Stutzl and Moritz Seder.

Tony Soderholm, Finn, does not like man-woman discussions, he utters a typical subtle Soderholm sentence: “If it is announced on the plane that a pilot will fly the machine, you don’t get up and go back to the terminal. For him it was purely a “hockey decision” that he chose Jessica Campbell. At Nuremberg, it was said that she convinced the players of her ability within 15 seconds. And – a pleasant side effect – in the dressing room The language has become a bit more elegant. But of course there is a slight revolution in personnel. Ice hockey is male dominated at all levels. The last eight years have been an exception at DEL: at ERC Ingolstadt, former national player Maritta Becker is the assistant coach – but is primarily responsible for athletics; during games she prepares material for video analysis from the stands.

Campbell could directly influence the Games. Between games, she would serve primarily as a “skills coach”. Soderholm: “Training is different during the World Cup. He and Colin Murphy will be in charge of training a group of players who weren’t used to it.”

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