Hershey Bears: History is made thanks to Emily Engel-Natzke

The Hershey Bears and Washington Capitals made history this week.

For the first time in franchise history, there will be a female coach in the Washington Capitals organization. The Hershey Bears have named Emily Engel-Natzke the team’s video coach. The Bears are Washington’s AHL affiliate and their agreement recently was extended.

Previously the 29 year old worked at the University of Wisconsin as the assistant director of operations as well as the video coordinator. Engel-Natzke, worked with the men’s and women’s hockey teams from 2015 through 2017 and only the men’s after 2017.

The Caps also made an addition to their coaching staff, giving Jared Elenberger a promotion from Hershey to Washington to be their video coordinator. Eleberger will replace Tim Ohashi who got a gig with the new Seattle Kraken to be their head video analyst.

The AHL season start date has been moved to February 5, if all goes well that’ll be a month after the NHL season is back. Engel-Natzke and her wife Spencer plan to move to the Hershey area after the holidays.

According to Samantha Pell of The Washington Post (subscription required), Engel-Natzke played hockey in middle school and then continued to play recreationally at college at the University of Colorado majoring in film studies. Her goal is to wind up on a coaching staff in the NHL.

Per the Bears, while with the Badgers of Wisconsin, Engel-Natzke produced game by game video breakdowns and did opponent pre scouts while also making video content for players, recruits and alumni. The lady Badgers won regular season and WCHA tournament titles during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons while Emily was on the staff.

Additionally, Engel-Natzke has worked for USA Hockey as the video coach for the USA U18 and Senior Women’s National Teams. Her teams won the World Championships for U18 in 2018 in Russia and in 2019 with the Senior Women’s team in Finland.

Engel-Natzke told Pell in a phone interview:

“It’s definitely a dream come true. It’s something I’ve really worked towards and wanted to do for a long time, and everything just kind of seemed to fall into place. I don’t know if the right time is the right word, but with everything else going on, everything just fell into place. I’m really excited. I’m really honored that they felt like I would be a good fit for their organization, and it really is just a dream come true to make that step.”

The Bears will be exciting to watch next season as the future Caps work on developing their game. This hire was truly historic and once again shows that women belong in sports. It would be cool to see the Caps have a female on their NHL coaching staff sometime in the future.