4 Women to Officiate Prospect Games in NHL First

The NHL for the first time has selected four female officials to work on the ice at several prospect tournaments being held this weekend.

Katie Guay and Kelly Cooke have been selected as referees, while Kirsten Walsh and Kendall Hanley will work as linesmen, the league announced Friday. The four were selected out of group of 96 officials, including 11 women, who participated in the league’s annual officials exposure combine in Buffalo, New York, last month.

This will mark the first time women have officiated at the pre-training camp prospects tournament level, and marks the next step in the league’s bid to have women officiate at the NHL level.

Kirsten Walsh Katie Guay
Kirsten Walsh, left and Katie Guay, second from right, participate in the NHL’s annual officials exposure combine in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Wawrow)

Without providing a timeline, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman previously said he envisions a women officiating at the league level.

Guay is the most experienced of the four, having refereed women’s games at the Winter Olympics last year. She has been assigned to work the Anaheim Ducks-hosted tournament in Irvine, California.

Cooke, who this past year officiated at the women’s world hockey championships, has been assigned to work the Predators tournament in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hanley, who has spent 11 seasons officiating at the NCAA Division III level, will work the Detroit Red Wings’ tournament in Traverse City, Michigan. Walsh just completed her collegiate playing career at Robert Morris, and will work at the Sabres tournament in Buffalo.


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John Wawrow, The Associated Press