Hamilton’s Laura Fortino becomes 1st female assistant coach in Ontario Hockey League history

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

Fortino, a star with the Canadian 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 excited 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 firsthand through our training and development camps over the years, her ability to coach and mentor players,” Staios said.

“Laura’s playing experience and success speaks for itself, she has been an instrumental part on many Championship teams and undoubtedly will carry on that success as a coach.”

Starred with Cornell Big Red from 2009-2013

Fortino, a Hamilton native, has enjoyed a marvellous playing career dating back to her time locally with the Stoney Creek Sabres and Burlington Barracudas, the Hamilton Bulldogs said in a news release. 

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

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

“With her infectious personality and fantastic hockey resume, I’m grateful for the opportunity to work alongside her.”

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

It was Fortino’s pass to Marie-Philip Poulin, in overtime, that led Canada to that gold medal victory in 2014. Later that Fortino was taken first overall in Tuesday’s Canadian Women’s Hockey League draft by the Brampton Thunder her years in the NCAA with Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y. 

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