Boston, MA – The Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) have hired Bobby Jay as head coach, general manager Hayley Moore announced Thursday.
”We are thrilled to add Bobby Jay as the head coach of the Boston Pride,” Moore said in a statement. “Bobby is a phenomenal coach, with a great understanding of, and appreciation for the women’s game. Additionally, he has already earned the respect of many players, which will be incredibly advantageous in creating team chemistry and trust within the Boston Pride unit.”
Jay comes to Boston after serving as an assistant coach for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team, which captured silver at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. He also served on the coaching staff of the U.S. Women’s National Team at the IIHF Women’s World Championships in 2012 and 2013, as well as the Four Nations Cup in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
“Just having the experience with the national team, coaching the women and knowing some of them that will be playing as well as the other ladies, I just thought it was an honor to even be considered,” Jay said of the chance to coach in the NWHL. “Having spoken with [NWHL Commissioner] Dani Rylan and some of the other people involved with the NWHL Foundation and the league, I knew the quality of people that were putting it together, so it made me very excited about the opportunity.”
Along with his time spent on the staff of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Jay has built up a strong body of professional experience as well.
He enjoyed a 10-year playing career that featured a stint with the Los Angeles Kings, as well as two Turner Cup wins and an all-star nod during his time in the International Hockey League (IHL). Jay began his coaching career as an assistant with the IHL’s Detroit Vipers from 1999-2001. He then served as an assistant coach for the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League (AHL) from 2001-03.
In 2003-04, Jay jumped on as general manager for the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage before heading to Harvard, where he joined the coaching staff of the Crimson men’s hockey team from 2004-06 and again from 2009-11.
Jay sees a lot of similarities between the top women’s players and their counterparts playing professional men’s hockey.
“Seeing the professionalism and the skill level is something that I’ve always enjoyed coaching at the highest level even on the men’s side, and that’s how I view these women,” he said. “We go for practices without missing a pass. To me, that’s just like a National Hockey League practice.”
Though the NWHL’s inaugural season is still a few months away, Jay has already spent time working with prospective players. He ran the Boston summer training camp, which was held May 16-17 at Ristuccia Memorial Arena.
“Bobby did a wonderful job running our training camp a couple of weeks ago,” Moore said. “The players responded very well to his instruction on the ice, and he was able to create a high-tempo, fun, and competitive atmosphere.”
Jay was most impressed with the depth of the talent on the ice for the Pride at the camp, and the overall pace of the play.
“I thought all the players there were high-end players and professional players,” he said. “I know that Boston’s going to have a very fast team, which is the way that I would like to play too. It’s entertaining that way and I think it creates a fun way to play for the players, but it’s also a fun game to view. I think the speed was excellent, the competitiveness was fantastic, and I was very impressed.”
Moore is just as impressed with Jay’s passion and his own hopes to see the game grow.
“Bobby’s list of accolades and resume speak for themselves,” Moore said. “However, his passion for the game, and belief in what the NWHL has to offer our players is unmatched.”
What Jay believes the NWHL offers the players, along with the opportunity to play hockey professionally, is a well-deserved chance for greater exposure in the United States.
“I’ve never heard one person disappointed,” he said of those he’s talked to who do get the chance to watch women’s hockey. “I’m very confident once people see them, they’re going to appreciate the product and I think hopefully that will continue to allow them to grow. They deserve to be paid and I think it’s an entertaining product that people will be willing to pay to see.”
For more information on the Boston Pride and the NWHL, please visit NWHL.co.