AAA Blue Jackets announce girls program hirings

March 29, 2022

The Ohio AAA Blue Jackets have announced the hirings of Kerry Bowman and Emily Curlett to lead the newly formed Tier I AAA girls program that is set to begin with a 14U team in the 2022-23 season. 

An accomplished player, teacher and coach with a well-rounded resume, Bowman will take the lead as the girls hockey director and 14U head coach. He comes to the program after coaching the Washington Pride in the Junior Women's Hockey League (JWHL) at the 19U and 16U levels from 2018-20. While coaching the Pride, Bowman also hosted the program's futures clinics and Pride Hockey School. In 2019, he helped lead a culture trip to the United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Pride where his team ran youth clinics and played exhibition games.

"I could not be more excited for the opportunity to build a Tier 1 girls hockey program here in Columbus. As the momentum continues to grow for girls hockey across the country and here in Central Ohio, we are at an ideal moment to be launching this program," said Bowman. "The girls all deserve the platform and environment where they can develop as players and people as they pursue their goals of playing at next levels of hockey. I would like to thank Ed Gingher, Nick Petraglia, the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets and the Columbus Blue Jackets for their support. I cannot wait to get started!"

Prior to his time in Washington, DC, Bowman served as a head coach for the AAA Sun County Panthers in the Ontario Hockey Federation from 2011-17 where he coached the 12U-15U levels. During this time, he also worked full-time as an educator, teaching French as a second language to students in grades 3-8. He has also served as a lead instructor with the CAN/AM Hockey group since 2001.

As a player, Bowman played Division I hockey at Mercyhurst College where he helped lead the Lakers to the Atlantic Hockey championship and NCAA Tournament in 2005. A two-time Atlantic Hockey Scholar Athlete, Kerry was the recipient of the Bill Smith Memorial Senior Award and served as team captain in 2008. Upon graduating with a bachelors degree in sports medicine, he went on to play two seasons professionally with the IHL's Port Huron Icehawks.

In addition to the hiring of Bowman, the program has also hired Emily Curlett as a coach and ambassador of girls hockey. A native of Columbiaville, MI, Curlett recently helped the Ohio State Buckeyes to a historic season as they captured the program's first ever NCAA championship, as well as the WCHA playoff title. 

"I am so honored and blessed to join the AAA Blue Jackets as a coach and ambassador for girls hockey," said Curlett. "I believe in the values of the organization and the vision it has for women's hockey in Central Ohio. I am excited to have the opportunity to direct my passion for the game towards making that vision a reality."

Prior to Ohio State, Curlett had a decorated 4-year career at Robert Morris where she tallied a program record 43 goals and 91 points as the top defenseman for the Colonials. In 2019-20, Emily led all of Division I hockey in power play goals (13) and was named to the CHA First Team. In 2018-19, Curlett led the nation in blocked shots (148) and was named to the all-CHA Second Team and All-Academic Team. She was also a member of the CHA all-rookie team after her freshman season.

Curlett graduated from Robert Morris in 2021 with a bachelors degree in organizational leadership and is currently completing a graduate certificate in public management at Ohio State.

"We are beyond thrilled to have both Kerry and Emily on board to lead our girls program," said president Ed Gingher. "Columbus is a special place and it all starts with great people. In Kerry and Emily, we have two high-character people that will be great leaders and role models for the girls to look up to as we continue to grow and take the girls game to new heights in Central Ohio."

Tryouts will be held on April 8 and 10 at the OhioHealth IceHaus. CLICK HERE to learn more. 

The Ohio AAA Blue Jackets program prides itself on being the premier youth hockey program in Ohio. With an every day mission to develop our student-athletes to reach their potential on and off of the ice, the program aims to provide a healthy and safe environment for the elite player to grow as a player, person and teammate through the great game of hockey.