The NSWC hockey department is excited to announce Melanie Jue and Kim Newell as two new additions to our Elite Development Team!
Mel started coaching when she was only 14 years old. Her younger sister’s team needed an assistant coach so Mel got her start on the bench which lead to her quickly falling in love with the game and coaching.
In her playing career, she attended Cornell University where she was a dual sport athlete, competing for both the ice and field hockey teams. In her 2010 season, she won the Ivy League Championship, the ECAC Championship, and was an NCAA Championship Finalist.
After graduation, Mel returned to her passion for coaching and gained a tremendous amount of experience first at the minor hockey level, then later as the Head Coach for a CSSHL academy team. In three years, she developed and placed 60+ athletes to NCAA Div I, III, and USport.
She then moved on to coach at the NCAA Div I level under the mentorship of Scott Spencer. She helped to rebuild the program and attained program-best season numbers both offensively and defensively. She also helped to place three players on the CHA all-conference and all-rookie team.
Seven years after graduating university and coaching, an unexpected turn of events lead to Mel returning to the ice as a professional hockey player for the first-ever Chinese professional hockey team, the Kunlun Red Stars. She competed for 4 years around the world, travelling to various countries such as China, Russia and the Philippines, and won the ZHL Championship in 2020. She was the first player ever to play 100 games for the Kunlun Red Stars franchise.
During this time, she continued to coach and mentor athletes, most notably fellow teammate Rachel Llanes, turning a solid third-line grinder into Team China’s top goal scorer in less than 2 years.
She then helped coach Team China to win the 2022 World Championship for Group B, earning a promotion to Group A for the first time in history.
Mel has recently returned to her roots in the Greater Vancouver Area and has been the Head Coach for the Greater Vancouver Comets for the 2022-23 season.
Throughout her time playing for the Kunlun Red Stars and coaching for the Comets, Mel has worked extensively with numerous PWHPA and NCAA Div I athletes. Mel has coached for over 20 years at every single level of hockey: youth minor hockey, CSSHL academy, Div I NCAA, and Team China National Team at the World Championships. She has developed and placed 60+ athletes to NCAA Div I, III, and USport. She has also developed and coached 20+ players to their respective national team programs.
She is driven by a passionate desire to help young athletes realize their limitless potential. She believes in the empowering influence of sports in female athletes and how lives can be transformed through positive, value-driven guidance.
With her unique philosophy and approach to hockey development, Mel founded Empower Hockey to bring young female athletes the highest quality training that is often only available to college or even only professional level athletes.
At Empower, no matter where you started and what your current level is, so long as you have the desire to learn and improve, our mission is to give you all the tools you need to choose whichever pathway in hockey that you want to pursue.
We will believe in each athlete and their potential until they learn to believe in themselves!
Kim grew up playing competitive boys hockey in Burnaby, representing Team BC twice, once as an underager.
She graduated a year early from high school and attended Princeton University at 16 years old, becoming the youngest-ever freshman starting goalie. She won the Freshman of the Year award and represented Team Canada at the U18 World Championships, winning gold against USA in overtime and being awarded the tournament MVP.
She won the Ivy League Championship her senior year and capped off her collegiate career with the records in all-time most career saves and wins in Princeton history. She was drafted in the inaugural NWHL (now PHF) draft by the New York Riveters.
She played four years of professional hockey for the first-ever Chinese professional team, the Kunlun Red Stars.
In 2020, she won the ZHL Best Goalie of the Year award, with a 96.1% save percentage, most shutouts, and most wins in the league. She was selected to the WHL All-Star Team, and went on to win the 2020 ZHL Championship.
She represented Team China at the 2022 Beijing Olympics as the starting goalie after breaking her ankle less than two and a half months prior, making a stunning comeback to backstop her team to two upset wins, including a shootout win against 6th ranked Japan. She earned the best save percentage of the tournament (95.5%).
Kim has recently returned to her roots in the Greater Vancouver Area and has been the Goalie Coach for the Greater Vancouver Comets for the 2022-23 season. She is also the co-owner, director and head goalie coach of Empower Hockey.
Throughout her playing career, Kim has experienced great triumphs and hard life lessons. She is motivated to share what she’s learned with young athletes so that they will have the knowledge and skills to better navigate the trials and tribulations ahead.
She is focused on bringing high-quality development for local athletes and highlighting the pathways forward in the female game.