RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Raleigh native Alyssa Gagliardi got the coaching bug when her five year professional career in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League ended four years ago.

“To me, it’s just wanting to be the best coach I can and getting exposure here is really great,” said Gagliardi.

Gagliardi is working side by side with Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour at the Hurricanes development camp at Invisalign Arena. Gagliardi realizes she stands out in this environment but hopes one day that won’t be the case. 

“I’m not looking at it as I’m a female coach here I’m just another coach as part of a staff,” said Gagliardi. “I think elite athletes are elite athletes whether male or females, I’ve been exposed to people on both sides and to me it’s just being able to add value, tools to the toolbox for some of these players and help out as much as I can.”

Gagliardi spent last year as an assistant coach for the Neumann University men’s ice hockey program, so a week with the Hurricanes young prospects is no big deal. Gagliardi got her coaching start right here in her hometown, organizing and leading girls’ hockey initiatives throughout the Carolinas for several years. But even then, Gagliardi knew she wanted to coach at a higher level.

“I think you take it for granted when you’re playing how much time and energy goes into planning a practice and investing video and all these things to help athletes,” said Gagliardi. “I have a new appreciation for that for sure, but yeah it’s been pretty eye-opening.”

And that’s what this week is all about, learning from coaches who have pretty much seen it all. For Gagliardi, coaching is coaching no matter who she’s working with.

“If they know you’re going to invest in them in their journey and their progression to get to pro hockey, I think they’re willing to listen,” said Gagliardi. “For me, it’s not so much being a female, but just being a coach here and helping them however I can.”