It’s a groundbreaking weekend for AHL officials. Yesterday, referee Katie Guay became the first woman to officiate an American Hockey League game.
Today, it’s Kelly Cooke’s turn. Cooke will make her AHL officiating debut today in Utica as the Comets host the Rochester Americans.
The Andover, Massachusetts, native played college hockey for Princeton, earning 26 goals and 23 assists in 122 games. She played two seasons with the CWHL’s Boston Blades and onw with the NWHL’s Boston Pride.
Cooke, 30, has been officiating since age 12. She was part of the first all-female officiating crew at the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four, and one of the four who worked the Elite Women’s 3-on-3 as part of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. Cooke participated in the NHL Officiating Exposure Combine, after which she was tapped to work an NHL prospects tournament.
“The prospect camp was the first time that I’d done hockey at that level with guys of that size so it was definitely eye-opening in the first five or 10 minutes but then you settle in it, and it’s still hockey,” said Cooke. “If you’re confident in your calls and you know what’s going on, you command the respect of players and the coaches, then your job is a lot easier. You can’t shrink away or second-guess yourself.”
Here’s more on Cooke:
Congratulations to referee Kelly Cooke on her American Hockey League debut!