Krissy Langley can’t wait to grow the game of hockey for female officials.
Langley, a former Division I hockey player, and an elite female official herself, was recently named referee-in-chief for female development, a volunteer position with USA Hockey.
“It’s amazing that this position now exists,” Langley said. “I know there’s been a lot of desire for somebody to represent USA Hockey for female development. As soon as this position was created and communicated out, my eyes were hungry for it. It sounds amazing, it’s a big opportunity and when I heard about the position, I wanted it.”
Langley’s position will serve in a lead role in developing and implementing strategies to advance efforts related to recruitment, retention and overall support of females currently involved, or interested in becoming involved in officiating.
“We felt there was a need to put the focus on the girls and women’s side of officiating,” said David LaBuda, who is USA Hockey’s national referee-in-chief. “With the game growing and the number of female players getting involved, we feel there’s a need to recruit and give them the same opportunities from an officiating side that we give to the men. There are far fewer female officials than there are male officials and we feel we need to get somebody in there who can come up with ideas to get more women involved in officiating.”
Langley, of Minnetonka, Minnesota, has enjoyed a near-three-decade stint as an official. Initially, she gained interest in officiating from an older brother and also her father, who was a referee. She played high school hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School and Division I hockey at Detroit, Michigan-based Wayne State University.
“As soon as my hockey season ended, I was reffing summer camps or going to officiating seminars,” Langley said. “I did that in high school and college. And then, as soon as I finished playing D1 hockey myself, I started reffing. I went to my first international tournament in 2007 and from there, my career took off.”
Langley has worked multiple International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) events overseas, NCAA championship games and also served as the supervisor of the Women’s Hockey Association of Minnesota.
“I tried to be a leader and coach off the ice for officials to build a consistent and friendly environment,” Langley said.
Now, Langley looks to do the same and offer support to officials in her new position. In the last 60 days, Langley has connected with elite female officials across the nation, gathering feedback, desires and recommendations.
“There are people out there doing amazing work already,” Langley said.
Langley would like to focus on recruitment, which includes soliciting current referees to refer a friend.
“Another tactic is to look at all the NCAA teams,” Langley said. “That’s a heavy recruiting area on the men’s side. How do we tap into that on the women’s side? If you look at our elite female officials, many of them come with playing experience at the NCAA level. How were they inspired?”
LaBuda feels Langley has the experience on the women’s side of the game. He also believes that perspective will allow her to come up with productive ideas to ultimately grow the game and involve more women in officiating.
“We felt like she was the right person to take on this position … to take on the role of a newly-created position for the first time,” LaBuda said. “She was somebody that was well organized, who knows how to manage people and knows how to evaluate people’s strengths and weaknesses. We felt that she was a leader who could make the contacts around the country to get more people involved on a volunteer level and motivate people to become officials.”
Langley is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m excited to be part of a team and to move forward,” Langley said. “This isn’t a one-person job. I’m excited about this role and I understand that it’s going to take a lot of people to put effort behind this.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.