Stacey Livingston has quite the resume.
As an officials supervisor with the International Ice Hockey Federation, she’s been to several IIHF World Championships, served as a supervisor for the IIHF Under-18 Division I Qualification in Hungary and notably supervised referees at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. But Sochi wasn’t her first Olympic experience. Prior to her supervising days, Livingston was on the ice, officiating in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
USA Hockey caught up with Livingston to talk a little bit about her career and her perspective on the women’s game.
USA Hockey: You have a significant number of achievements, but I’m curious, how did you first get into officiating?
Stacey Livingston: When I was playing at the University of Maine, I had a coach there who was also an official. He said, “Hey, we have some need for an official. You can skate really well. Are you interested in officiating some of the men’s leagues to start out and little kids?” I moved on to women’s games and started there for extra money.
USAH: When did you first start playing hockey?
SL: I was born in Utica, New York. I started figure skating with my sister, but that was boring for me compared to her, so I started playing hockey in Whitesboro, New York, with the boys. Then I found out about a girls league in Syracuse, New York. I played out of Syracuse all through high school. Then I went to college and played at the University of Maine.
USAH: Back to your role as an official — how did you develop that aspect of your career?
SL: Just being involved in hockey with a player perspective and some coaching experience. I actually had an opportunity to stay in coaching or stay with officiating. I chose officiating just because I met so many people, had so many opportunities and, at the time, I was more involved with being in the game. I really like that aspect of it, being involved in the game.
USAH: Was it hard to give up coaching or is there a way that you’ve been able to keep that same coach-mentality in your current job as a supervisor
SL: I loved coaching. Being a supervisor, that gives me the opportunity to coach the other officials from the sidelines. I think my passion for officiating, and hockey in general, is the coaching aspect — helping the officials become better officials. It’s a process but once you see an official come from a grassroots organization all the way up to Women’s World Championship — you grow with them. You see so much through their career. It’s not about what you can do, it’s about sitting back and taking a back seat, seeing what you can help them accomplish.
USAH: Being a player, an official and now an official supervisor, how have you seen the women’s game and officiating evolve over the last couple of years?
SL: It’s changed a ton over the years since I started in college to even when I was on the ice for the Olympics to right now. The game is faster. The players are stronger and quicker. Women are smart players because there’s no body-checking — it takes a lot of skill just to move the puck and be a player on the ice these days. It takes a lot of skill and a lot of thought. I think they’re smarter, stronger and faster players. There’s more opportunity at the girls level to play and be involved in the game. It’s a growing sport — as a coach, as a player and an official, all aspects of the women’s game is growing, which is kind of cool to see and be a part of.
USAH: Absolutely. Are there many other women in official supervising roles
SL: Not in the U.S. There is one in Canada. There are two in Germany, one in Finland and one in Great Britain. There are a handful of us, not a ton. But all the women that are involved as supervisors get a chance to see the women’s game and supervise. We’re still outnumbered, but we’ve gotten louder.
USAH: It’s a start. Do you think that’s an area of the game that continues to grow?
SL: The women’s numbers throughout USA Hockey and the numbers of women’s officials that we have are growing. Some of the girls, as players, they’re not going to make it to that high level of competition. Officiating is just another avenue that they can stay involved in the game. Officials are growing in numbers just as the players are. We’re always looking for girls that are interested in officiating. It’s a great opportunity and a great privilege to work with USA Hockey and to see the start of an official’s career all the way through what their goals are.
USAH: Earlier I rattled off some of your achievements. But what would you say is the most memorable moment of your career so far?
SL: On a personal level, my goals were achieved in the 2002 Olympics when I was an official there. That was a huge thing for me.
But you know what? Being a supervisor at Sochi was pretty cool. I just really, really enjoy the coaching aspect of being an official. Sitting back and seeing what they can do, what their accomplishments are. You feel like maybe you had a little bit to do with their success, but it’s really not about me. It’s about them and seeing where they’re going to go.
Tag(s): Stripes Newsletter