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Coach Connection: Campbell & Maltais

Meet Bill Brown and Bradi Cochrane, minor hockey coaches that had a meaningful and lasting impact on players from Canada’s National Women’s Team

Bernadette Larose
December 15, 2021

Every member of Canada’s National Women’s Team began their careers the same way: by playing at the grassroots of our game. Along the way, they had coaches that helped to shape their playing style and boost their love of hockey.

Here’s a look at two players, two coaches and two lasting impressions.

Kristen Campbell and Bill Brown

Bill Brown coached goaltender Kristen Campbell alongside his daughter through the Brandon Minor Hockey Association. Brown noticed Campbell’s talent early on and worked hard to grow the game in the province for her and other girls coming through the program.

Hockey Canada (HC): You started coaching Kristen at a very young age. What are some of your memories of her as a player back then?

Bill Brown (BB): I can remember when we did our draft, the fellow I was volunteering with, he said we have a girl and she wants to be goalie. It was perfect because we were [rotating through] everybody at the time. But Kristen, right from day one, she was a goalie and that's what she wanted to be. Being the old goalie that I was, I had someone in love with the sport who’s is in love with the position. The first thing I saw with Kristen, even at that very, very young age was just so much natural ability. It was things I was showing her about stance and gloves and how to hold your stick. It was like ‘Oh, she's already doing that.’ So, there’s just that natural ability.

HC: Is there anything that stood out to you about Kristen?

BB: When she was playing U18 and then she went to a prep school in Winnipeg, she initiated that change because she saw it as a way to make herself better. And then when [the University of North Dakota] folded [its women’s hockey program] and she was there, I remember messaging her at that time, ‘You'll keep going kid.’ Of course, she found a home [at the University of Wisconsin] and it turned out to be very, very good. But I think the one thing that I tried to pass on to my kids is if you want something, go get it. She's a shining example of wanting something and having the support in order to do it. All of us are so proud of her but she's done so much of it herself.

HC: Bill, what message would you give to Kristen?

BB: Enjoy the moment. Live in the moment, keep working hard and have fun because those moments, they're here and then they're gone. Enjoy the hard work you put in and where it's taken you and see how far it can take you now.

HC: Kristen, what message would you give to Bill?

Kristen Campbell: I would just thank him for everything he did for me when I was younger. I think he recognized potential in me from a young age, and he really pushed me to be better and knew that I wanted to get to the highest level possible.

Emma Maltais and Bradi Cochrane

After an injury during her NCAA hockey career, Bradi Cochrane transitioned into coaching to stay connected with the game. Cochrane helped the Oakville Hornets establish their high-performance program, where she coached forward Emma Maltais from U15 AA through to the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (PWHL).

HC: Can you talk about how you started coaching Emma?

Bradi Cochrane (BC): We were trying to develop this high-performance program with our U15, U18, and U22 programs and Emma was playing U13 boys at the time and we knew she'd be around the transition [age] to come over to girls. We got lucky enough to have her in our U15 program. I'm coaching [in the PWHL] at the time and she was so talented, she played 22 games with me as a U15. So right from a young age when we first got her to the Hornets program, she was [playing in the PWHL]. And then she was with me for three years.

HC: When you first began coaching Emma, what qualities stood out to you?

BC: There's a word that always jumps to my head when I think of Emma and it's the word relentless. She's just relentless in everything she does. I honestly can't tell you that she’s ever had a bad practice. You fight the puck and all that type of stuff, but her effort level and her intensity never changes. And I think that's a special piece; obviously it's special because she is where she is right now. But yeah, relentless. Her work ethic on and off the ice. She's a gym rat, she loves to be in the gym. She loves hard workouts. She's just so passionate about anything she does. I personally feel blessed that I had an opportunity to help her develop.

HC: Bradi, what message would you give to Emma?

BC: First and foremost, I'm just so proud of her. I'm proud of the person and player that she's become. But I see so much more for her in the future, too. I feel like her national team career is really, truly just beginning. If my little [son] can grow up to be like Emma, I'd be pretty happy.

HC: Emma, is there a message you would like to give Bradi?

Emma Maltais: She's incredible. I still talk to her all the time. She's such a good hockey brain, just always watching the game. She really taught me not only how to play the game, but how to think the game. And that's really helped me moving forward into college and into the national level. I think she saw something in me and pushed me to look farther into the game, and look farther into my own future, to believe in myself so I could make it one day.

Looking to get involved behind the bench in your community? Contact your local hockey association and visit HockeyCanada.ca/Coaching for more information.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 


Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567


Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738


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