COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With the help and guidance from USA Hockey, the NWHL’s upcoming season will have an all-female officiating staff. The league’s regular-season contests as well as the 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs will be staged at the iconic Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., from Jan. 23–Feb. 5, 2021.
The 10 officials selected to the NWHL officiating staff include 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.), and 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,” 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 participation of this officiating crew in the NWHL’s season is a milestone for pro hockey. While the league has had all-female officiating crews work games before, there has never been an all-female officiating initiative of this scale.
“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 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.”
Prioritizing the health and safety of the players, staff and all involved, the NWHL will play its sixth season in a centralized and protected environment. The competition will feature the NWHL’s six teams – Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, and first-year expansion club the Toronto Six.
Launched in 2015, the NWHL features more than 120 players, including stars from NCAA Division I programs and players with national team experience from the U.S., Canada, and Europe.