American Hockey League to have 10 female officials this year

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Ten female officials will work games in the American Hockey League this season, the highest level that women have reached in that position in professional hockey.

Katie Guay on Saturday will become the first woman to referee an AHL game. Guay, fellow referees Kelly Cooke, Jacqueline Zee Howard, Laura White, Samantha Hiller, Elizabeth Mantha and Amanda Tasson and linespeople Kendall Hanley, Kirsten Welsh and Alexandra Clarke are among 17 new AHL officials this season.

“It’s been on our radar for a while now,” AHL president and CEO Scott Howson told The Associated Press by phone Monday. “They’ve got good experience. Whether it’s Olympics, college hockey — both men’s and women’s — they’ve done some NHL prospect tournaments. It’s just time now for them to graduate into a higher level of pro hockey.”

Many of the women participated in officiating combines run by the NHL and AHL in recent years. Guay, Cooke, Welsh and Hanley were also selected to work NHL prospect tournaments in 2019.

All 10 female officials went through a mentorship program last year run by the NHL and NHL Officiating Association, which supplemented the on- and off-ice training many got from combines.

Working in the AHL is another step toward the possibility of female officials in the NHL, much like the NFL and NBA already have.

“This is a huge step, all of these women going into professional hockey,” NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom said. “They’ve all earned it and should be recognized for it.”

The NHL and AHL have worked closely to develop a pipeline for officials, both men and women, to move through the pro ranks. The women’s world hockey championship was another place for NHL scouting and development director Al Kimmel to unearth talent for the officiating side.

That scouting now moves to AHL rinks this season.

“Everybody that works in the American Hockey League is a prospect from an officiating side because our scouting and development team…



Source : yahoo

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