Putting Hockey’s Gender Tradition on Ice
“Hockey is hockey,” says Alyssa Gagliardi, deftly downplaying her unique role as the first female coach for the Neumann University men’s ice hockey team.
Gagliardi is one of two assistant coaches who helped Head Coach Kyle Mountain guide the Knights through the 2022-23 season. She is also in a rare position, one of the only women in the country coaching an NCAA men’s ice hockey squad.
With a goal of working in the National Hockey League someday, she considers her job at Neumann, which began in the fall of 2022, another step in her career trajectory.
Gagliardi certainly has the credentials for the job. She played at Shattuck St. Mary’s, a Minnesota prep school noted for its hockey programs, before going to Cornell University, where her team made the Women’s Frozen Four twice. After graduating, she moved to Boston and played professional ice hockey in a women’s league for five years.
“Any new coach has to earn the team’s trust and show that you’re invested in their development and the team’s success,” she says, “but I don’t think that has anything to do with gender. It was nice that it didn’t seem like a big deal here.