Four Female Officials to Work NHL Prospect Tournament, See NHL Action for the First Time

Photo: NHL

Over the years, the NHL has seen a number of individuals break barriers, whether it be the legendary Willie O’Ree break the NHL’s color barrier, Wayne Gretzky shatter what was once thought to be unbreakable records, or players from non-traditional hockey countries being drafted by NHL teams and making their debuts. Now, four women will break another barrier at the league’s Prospect tournament, becoming the first female officials to referee an NHL event.

Earlier today, the NHL announced that lineswomen Kendall Hanley and Kirsten Welsh and referees Katie Guay and Kelly Cooke will be four of the 30 officials working the league’s Prospect Tournament (which the Capitals’ prospects will be partaking in). The four ladies have extensive experience in officiating, and were selected from some 96 officials that participated in the NHL Exposure Combine, which is in essence, an official’s version of the Scouting Combine.

Cooke holds 10 years of officiating experience, including for the International Ice Hockey Federation and National Collegiate Athletics Association Division 1 schools (including the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four tournament). She was a former standout player for Princeton from 2009-13.

Guay, meanwhile, holds an extensive 14 years of officiating experience, including the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeonchang. Like Cooke, Guay has officiated NCAA games, including men’s as well as women’s, and played with Brown University from 2001-05, and has competed on an international level for the United States as well.

Hanley holds 12 years of officiating experience, including events for the IIHF, NCAA, and the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), and competed in Division III hockey for Elmira University from 2005-07 and SUNY Oswega from 2007-09 during the completion of her degree.

Unlike her three colleagues, who hold a combined 36 years of officiating experience between them, Welsh will be seeing her first officiating action in major game action at the tournament, although she has experience as a player at Robert Morris University.

In the six years Exposure Combine participants have been officiating the Prospect Showcase, the tournament has proven to be a valuable tool for the league in developing officials for NHL action. NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating (and former NHL official) Stephen Walkom released a statement on the four ladies’ opportunity:

“The opportunity to officiate at an NHL Rookie tournament is an important step in the development of the next generation of elite officials and we look forward to watching all four women elevate their performance in this new competitive environment”.

The Prospect Tournament will run from today (Friday) through Monday.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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2 Responses to Four Female Officials to Work NHL Prospect Tournament, See NHL Action for the First Time

  1. Day One Caps Fans says:

    Martin Fehervary #42 just SMOKED the Carolinas in a beautiful end-to-end rush. He tucked a nifty goal through the CAR netminder for a Caps 3-0 lead in the first game of the “Prospects Showcase.”

    Indeed Fehervary has been dominant. Not a bad start for the “prospect.” Will put some desirable pressure on the Caps Defensive depth chart.

    Many thanks to the four NHL teams putting on the Prospects Showcase tournament. Great to see real players with Washington Capitals sweaters on them (the White road version in this game).

    2nd Period starts soon. It’s 1440 hrs EDT. The Caps season is officially on the way.

    Ahoy NovaCapsFans, we need a new thread to comment on the Baby Caps. Many thanks.

  2. Pingback: Capitals Prospects Fall To Predators Prospects 3-2 (OT) In Game 2 Of The 2019 Prospect Tournament | NoVa Caps

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