USA Hockey taps all-woman officiating crew for NWHL 2021 season

Mock-up of center ice for 2021 NWHL season.

The NWHL worked with to identify 10 women officials to work the league’s regular-season contests as well as the 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs from Jan. 23–Feb. 5, 2021. The ten officials are:

  • Sarah Buckner, Crystal, Minn.
  • Erika Greenen, Romeoville, Ill.
  • Kendall Hanley, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Alicia Hanrahan, St. Paul, Minn.
  • Jacqueline Howard, Gaithersburg, Md.
  • Jamie Huntley-Park, Escondido, Cali.
  • Jackie Spresser, Thornton, Colo.
  • Amanda Tassoni, Bradford, R.I.
  • Mackenzie Welter, Rome, N.Y.
  • Laura White, Runnemede, N.J

“We’re appreciative of the partnership that has been formed with the NWHL in an effort to promote and develop our female officials.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.”

Matt Leaf, director of USA Hockey’s officiating education program

This is not the first time the NWHL worked with an all-woman officiating crew. Oftentimes women have been used throughout the season.Former NWHL player and referee Kelly Cooke was one of five women to work the 2019 NWHL All-Star Weekend in Nashville and the 2020 Alls Star Weekend in Boston.

Shameless plug: The Nashville ASG also had an all-woman broadcast team. I was honored to work alongside Sherry Ross & Kelly Shultz.

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However, this is easily the largest officiating staff and the first time the NWHL will hold an entire season and playoffs at a single-site.

“I am thrilled with the officiating staff that we have assembled for the NWHL’s sixth season. In working with Matt Leaf and 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.”

Michelle Picard, deputy commissioner of the NWHL

Picard earned a silver medal with Team USA at the 2014 Olympics and a gold medal at the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship.

Current Boston Pride president Hayley Moore was integral in recruiting the all-women officiating crews throughout NWHL history and laid the foundation for the partnership with USA Hockey in her former role as deputy commissioner. In the lead-up to the 2018 Winter Olympics, the national team played an two-game exhibition series against Team NWHL in Tampa, FL.

“We are incredibly excited about this experience for our players, and we’re very proud to play this important role in USA Hockey’s preparation for the Olympics. These players have all earned their opportunity in the spotlight. They will be representing the entire NWHL.”

Hayley Moore on the 2018 Tampa series

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Moore served as the general manager of Team NWHL. Current NWHL deputy commissioner Shelly Picard served as Team NWHL captain and went on to make the USA 2019 Worlds roster before settling into her front office role.

Other NWHL News

The league, in its effort to prioritize safety amid the Coronavirus pandemic, will partner with Yale for COVID testing for all players and staff in Lake Placid. To learn more about the SalivaDirect test and other NWHL news, visit SportsTalk with Erica L. Ayala on YouTube.

NOTE: This post was revised to more accurately reflect Hayley Moore’s contributions over time and not specifically for this event. 

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