Kings trainer becomes first female staffer on bench in NHL

Sports

Los Angeles Kings’ Anze Kopitar, center, celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Aisha Visram is believed to have become the first woman to work on the bench of an NHL regular-season game in any capacity when she served as athletic trainer for the Los Angeles Kings in their 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

According to the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society and Society of Professional Hockey Equipment Managers, Visram likely made history when she stepped in because three Kings support staffers were unavailable because of COVID-19 protocols.

“That’s incredible. That’s great. We need more of that in our game,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said.

Visram is the head trainer for the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate in Ontario, California. She previously worked with Adirondack of the ECHL and at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.

McLellan said having Visram on the bench was a reminder that it takes more than players and coaches for a professional hockey team to function and succeed.

“I can tell you that Aisha is a big part of our organization,” McLellan said. “And we don’t talk about these people. We don’t talk about the trainers or the equipment people, but she’s mentoring with (Kings head athletic trainer) Chris Kingsley and the rest of the staff, and accepted a huge role there and does a tremendous job, so unreal reward for her. And everybody’s a big part of it, so include her in it.”

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