The NWHL will feature an all-female officiating staff for the 2020-21 season.
While the league has had all-women officiating crews, as have others, this is the first time an all-women staff has been assembled at this level.
The referees and lineswomen taking the ice in the National Women’s Hockey League:
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)
Laura White (Runnemede, NJ)
The officials will take the ice along the league’s six clubs – Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, and the new expansion Toronto Six.
“I am thrilled with the officiating staff that we have assembled for the NWHL’s sixth season,” said Michelle Picard, deputy commissioner of the NWHL, who has previously played on U.S. Olympic and Women’s National Teams. “In working with USA Hockey, we’ve identified 10 of the most highly qualified officials from across the country. We are looking forward to having this group’s expertise, enthusiasm, and professionalism in Lake Placid.”
USA Hockey was critical in helping to identify the best officiating staff possible, many of whom have represented the US at international tournaments.
“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 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.”
“They are the brightest and best of our current and future top-level female officials who bring a balance of experience, versatility, loyalty, and an unmatched skill and a passion to be the best they can be each time they step on the ice.”
The league will hold all regular season and playoff games at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York. The season begins January 23, with the Isobel Cup Championship awarded on February 5.
It’s also worth noting that the league’s Player Safety Committee is headed up by former NWHL player and referee Kelly Cooke, heading into her fifth season in the role. Cooke was one of the four women selected to officiate NHL Prospect Tournaments prior to the start of the 2019-20 season. She’s joined in Player Safety by NCAA and USA Hockey official Alicia Hanrahan, US Olympic ice hockey silver medalist Josephine Pucci, ECHL VP of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst, and former NHLer and hockey coach Bobby Jay, who previously helmed the US Women’s National Team and the NWHL’s Boston Pride.
Earlier this week, the league announced that the semi-finals and final of the Isobel Cup Playoffs would air on national television in the US via NBC Sports.