Hamilton’s Laura Fortino becomes first assistant coach in Ontario Hockey League history

Hamilton’s Laura Fortino has become the first female assistant coach in the long history of the Ontario Hockey League.

Fortino, a star of Canada’s national women’s hockey team for many years, has been hired by the Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club as an assistant coach, the club’s president and general manager announced Monday.

Steve Staios says Fortino will also serve as director of player development with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

« We are incredibly thrilled to welcome Laura to our Hamilton Bulldogs family, » Staios said, adding that she « exudes the passion, character and leadership that we covet in Hamilton. »

“We have witnessed our training and development camps over the years, his ability to coach and mentor female players,” Staios said.

« Laura’s playing experience and success speaks for itself, she has been instrumental in many Championship teams and will no doubt continue that success as a coach. »

Played with Cornell Big Red from 2009 to 2013

Fortino, a Hamilton native, has had a wonderful playing career dating back to her time with the Stoney Creek Sabers and Burlington Barracudas, the Hamilton Bulldogs said in a news release.

Fortino played with the Cornell Big Red from 2009-2013 and has since enjoyed professional success with the CWHL’s Brampton/Markham Thunder and was a driving force behind the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association.

« I’m thrilled to add Laura to our staff, » Hamilton Bulldogs head coach Jay McKee said.

« With his infectious personality and fantastic hockey resume, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside him. »

Fortino helped Canada win a gold medal at the 2014 Olympics and a silver medal in 2018. She has also won multiple medals for Canada at world championships for many years.

It was Fortino’s pass to Marie-Philip Poulin in overtime that led Canada to that gold medal in 2014. Fortino later went first overall in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Draft in Tuesday by the Brampton Thunder his years in the NCAA with Cornell in Ithaca, NY

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