Northeastern Assistant Coach Lindsay Berman talks NWHL, Devils, and coaching

Huskies AC Lindsay Berman spoke with TIG recently after coaching during an NHL Development Camp in NJ.

The hockey world is a small one and from one day to the next you never know who you will run into when you show up at a rink. Last week at the New Jersey Devils Development Camp for prospects and undrafted free agents I ran into current Northeastern University assistant coach and former NWHL player Lindsay Berman.

She was there as part of the NHLCA (NHL Coaches’ Association) - which provided multiple NHL teams with female and BIPOC coaches for their annual rookie and development camps. It doesn’t end when the camp finished though, Berman will continue to connect with the Devils’ coaching staff throughout the season for in-person and remote meetings to gain experience, insights, and exposure with an NHL staff.

Lindsay Berman’s resume:

Playing career:

  • 4 yrs at Northeastern
  • CWHL Championship 2013
  • 4 yrs with the Boston Blades (Captain ’13-14)
  • 1yr with the Connecticut Whale (3 games, 1 assist)/

Coaching career:

  • 3 yrs AC at UMass-Boston
  • 1yr AC at Brown
  • 3 yrs HC at UMass-Boston
  • 1 yr AC Boston Pride
  • 4+ yrs AC Northeastern
  • AC for 2023 Team USA U-18/

“Lindsey Arkin is the President of the NHLCA, she’s championed this program. (New Jersey Devils Assistant GM) Kate Madigan had a lot to do with bringing that to the Devils. I got a phone call from Kate in April where she told me about the program and honestly, it seemed like an unbelievable opportunity. It all happened pretty quickly,” Berman told The Ice Garden, “but it all happened through the NHLCA. It was a no-brainer for sure.”

For Berman, it’s just another tool in her arsenal when she is back behind the bench and coaching players up at practice for Northeastern this upcoming fall, something she will be doing for a fifth consecutive season.

“I’ve only been here a day, but I feel like I learned so much,” she said. “I’ve taken so many notes, built some really great connections, and everybody here has been great, open to sharing (information), and super-welcoming. I definitely have some drills that I can take back with me and even little details - there are no details left untouched here. Everything here is top-notch and professional; there is so much I’m excited to take back.”

Despite being new to the Devils, when she was on the ice with their prospects she did see a familiar face in Meghan Duggan, who was recently promoted to the Director of Player Development for New Jersey.

“I spoke to Kate first but we made the connection that Meghan and I have known each other for a long time now,” explained Berman who played with and against Duggan as a pro. “I’ve always looked up to her, and she’s been sort of a role model/friend to me since those days. I’ve been watching her from afar and all that she has been doing here (in New Jersey) and it was a coincidence that I ended up here this week.”

“She’s been unbelievable to me and over the last day and a half I feel like I’ve just been following her around and she’s invited me into everything; she’s incredible.”

Did Berman know that she wanted to transition into the coaching side of the game when her playing days were over or did it just happen organically like these things often do?

“I knew when I was graduating from Northeastern that I wanted to keep playing; that was the first year of the CWHL right after I stopped playing collegiately,” Berman told TIG. “I did keep playing but also started coaching at the same time. I thought it was a good mix of the two and when my playing career did end I was already three or four years into my coaching career and I loved it right away.”

“These opportunities have started to open up now. I didn’t know what I wanted to do back then, but I found this and it’s been 12 years now I think, which is crazy! It’s been really fun.”

Like every player turned coach, Berman realizes that her coaches were actually trying to help her develop and grow. But she also has that perspective now that she can share with her players if they are unsure why a certain drill is being run or implemented.

“Oh yeah, you see so much more from the other side,” she said, unable to hide her grin. “If I could have just had one year of coaching experience during my playing career I feel like I would have been a better player. At the beginning of my coaching career when I was still playing at a high level I felt like I could take a lot back to the team that I was coaching. It was transferrable, both ways.”

Berman added that she does explain to players that she’s been in their shoes, err skates before, but also that sometimes players need to go through certain things themselves and find their own way through. “Sometimes you have to go through a little bit of adversity.”

“I think my experience is able to help them through those things and being relatable is helpful as well. I’ve been really lucky and I’m grateful that I’ve had great players to work with,” added Berman.

“Even the guys here have been super receptive and everybody is just a hockey player.”

Berman, who was one of the players during the NWHL’s inaugural season, is excited to see and continues to follow the growth of what has gone from a four-team NWHL to what is now a seven-team PHF in eight seasons.

“That was back in 2015 (when I played) and I’ll never forget it,” said Berman. “It was super exciting to be a part of something that was just beginning when Dani (Rylan) started the league. It has been really fun to see it grow and keep tabs on our Northeastern alums that are still playing; so I follow them really closely.”

Berman confirmed that she has spoken with GMs, Coaches, Directors of Player Personnel, etc from the PHF when they are looking for information or background on players graduating from Northeastern. “I love to advocate for our players.”

Berman was an assistant coach for the Boston Pride back in Season 3 of the NWHL, so would she ever consider returning as a Head Coach?

“I don’t know. I think opportunities present themselves at different times and I think you have to approach them as they come,” Berman replied. “I just try to do as good of a job as I can in the place where I am; I just want to keep learning and growing, and see where that takes me. We’ll see what comes.”

“Women’s hockey is just growing, and it’s great that the players have options (post-college) and the future is looking bright because of how the growth is just rapid. It’s been fun to watch, especially since I was a part of it at the beginning.”