Brown women’s hockey completes staff under Ruzzi, names Simpson, Newkirk assistant coaches

Justin Simpson and Makenna Newkirk are new assistant coaches at Brown.

Brown has announced the addition of Justin Simpson and Makenna Newkirk as assistant coaches for the Brown women’s hockey team.

Simpson comes to College Hill after serving the 2020-21 season as an assistant coach for RIT. Prior to coaching the Tigers, Simpson spent two seasons in the same role at Colby.

Prior to Colby, Simpson spent five seasons with the Providence women’s program, including four as the director of hockey operations. Prior to his operations role at PC, Simpson was an intern with the Friars during the 2012-13 campaign.

“I was fortunate to work with Justin early in his career and knew that when I had the opportunity to build my own staff, he would be my first call,” said first-year Brown coach Melanie Ruzzi in a news release. “His knowledge of the game and tireless work ethic will push all of us to be better. I am most thankful our program will benefit from Justin’s positive energy and care for the people around him.”

Newkirk was most recently a coach and assistant director at the North American Hockey Academy, where she transitioned the program from Vermont to Massachusetts. She managed all of the Under-16 team’s dynamics and worked with the Under-19 group during practice and games for two seasons.

Prior to the North American Hockey Academy, Newkirk was an assistant coach at Milton Academy for one season (2019-20) and was a marketing specialist and skill development coach for Eagles Elite Sports, LLC.

Newkirk starred at Boston College from 2015 to 2019, where she was a two-time captain and ranked fifth all-time in career points (73 goals, 116 assists, 189 points). She helped the Eagles appear in the NCAA national championship game and win two Hockey East championships and three Beanpots. She was voted the conference’s Best Defensive Forward in 2019 and was named Rookie of the Year in 2016.

Following her stellar career with the Eagles, Newkirk competed for USA Hockey and attended three national team festivals. She was a member of the U.S. Under-22 National Team in 2016 and was an invitee to the Olympic tryouts for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Newkirk additionally played two seasons in the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association in the New Hampshire Region and was drafted seventh overall in the 2019 NWHL Draft.

“Makenna brings a champion’s mentality to our program after having an incredibly successful playing career at Boston College and opportunities with the USA National Team,” said Ruzzi. “Her passion for developing student-athletes on and off the ice will raise the individual skill of our players and help to strengthen the culture and leadership within the program.”

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