Sandra Dombrowski has become the first female on-ice official inducted in the IIHF Hall of Fame.
The International Ice Hockey Federation held their Class of 2023 induction ceremony on Sunday, May 28, prior to the Medal Round of the 2023 World Championship. Nine individuals were welcomed into the hall this year, including one groundbreaking official
“Women’s hockey made its World Championship debut in 1990 and it took a lot of work to get there by administrators, coaches, players, and, yes, officials. As Danny Kurmann, the IIHF’s Officiating Supervisor, reminds me: without officials, you don’t have a game,” said host Gord Miller, in his introductory speech. “There are so many trailblazers who have been honored here at the IIHF Hall of Fame and this one is a trailblazer in every respect and now she breaks another barrier. Sandra Dombrowski is the first female official to be inducted into the IIHF Hall.”
From the IIHF:
Sandra Dombrowski (now Frey) made history as the first female game official inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame. She founded the women’s hockey club BOMO and played for Switzerland at the first, unofficial Women’s World Championship in Toronto in 1987, and after retiring as a player she turned to refereeing.
Dombrowski was the first woman to referee a Women’s Worlds gold medal game, in 1992. She subsequently held the whistle at the gold games in 1994 and 1997 as well, all games featuring the classic Canada-United States rivalry. She also had the whistle as both a referee, and in an emergency, as a linesperson, at the 1998 Olympics, the first time women competed for a medal.
Dombrowski ended her 15-year career as a game official a few months later and worked as a referee supervisor for the IIHF and SIHF watching both men’s and women’s games, was meeting with officials, and giving them feedback and guidance as need be including the following two Olympics.
In 1998, she also became the first woman on the IIHF Officiating Committee.
Dombrowski, from Switzerland, has been inducted alongside players Jimmy Foster (Great Briatin), Cristobal Huet (France), Brian Leetch (USA), Caroline Ouellette (Canada) and Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden).
Also joining the class of 2023 are:
- Kalervo Kummola (Finland), builder
- Viktor Szelig (Hungary) – the Richard “Bibi” Torriani Award winner, for a player with an ‘outstanding career from a non-top hockey nation’
- Kimmo Leinonen (Finland) – the Paul Loicq Award winner for ‘outstanding contributions to the IIHF and international ice hockey’
With Dombrowski’s addition, there are eight officials in the IIHF Hall of Fame: referees Quido Adamec (Czechia, Class of 2005), Ove Dahlberg (Sweden, 2004), Yuri Karandin (Russia, 2004), Josef Kompalla (Germany, 2003), Laszlo Schell (Hungary, 2009), and Unto Wiitala (Finland, 2003)
Congratulations to Sandra Dombrowski Frey on this honor.