The NWHL announced in late December that they would feature an all-female USA Hockey officiating staff for the upcoming season, an incredible move in the right direction for women in hockey.
“We’re appreciative of the partnership that has been formed with the NWHL in an effort to promote and develop our female officials,” said Matt Leaf, director of USA Hockey’s officiating education program.
The ten women chosen will commence the season along with the league’s six teams: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, and the new expansion Toronto Six.
Leaf added, “The officials that have been selected are highly skilled, motivated, and team-oriented officials who are up for the challenges that will be critical to the success of the NWHL season.”
Though there have been a number of previous league games with an all-female lineup, this will be the first time that it will be a league-wide initiative.
The women who will be calling the shots are Sarah Buckner (Crystal, MN), Erika Greenen (Romeoville, IL), Kendall Hanley (Minneapolis, MN), Alicia Hanrahan (St. Paul, MN), Jacqueline Howard (Gaithersburg, MD), Jamie Huntley-Park (Escondido, CA), Jackie Spresser (Thornton, CO), Amanda Tassoni (Bradford, RI), Mackenzie Welter (Rome, NY), and Laura White (Runnemede, NJ).
Hanley is a recognized name in the officiating world, being part of the first all-female crew to officiate an NHL event. Prior to officiating the 3-on-3 game at the 2020 NHL All-Stars Weekend, Hanley was a linesman at the 2019 NHL Prospect Tournament. She has taken her job extremely seriously, working out nearly as much as the players that she officiates.
“When you’re playing, it’s short shifts, quick speed, explosive,” Hanley told ESPN reporters. “As an official, you’ve gotta have that explosivity, but at the same time you’ve also got to have stamina.”
With the schedule of the league being condensed, it is set to kick off Saturday at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, NY, and will conclude with the Isobel Cup final on February 5th airing on NBC.