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Katie Guay to Become 1st Woman to Officiate AHL Game; 10 Women on Roster

The American Hockey League has created a path for women to one day officiate in the NHL. 

Ten women are on the roster to officiate AHL contests during the 2021-22 season, the league told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. Katie Guay will get the first assignment, refereeing an Oct. 16 matchup between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. 

The women have officiating experience across all levels, including the Olympics and World Championships, in men’s and women’s college hockey and in NHL prospect tournaments. 

In addition to Guay, Kelly Cook, Samantha Hiller, Jacqueline Zee Howard, Elizabeth Mantha, Amanda Tassoni and Laura White will appear as AHL referees this season. Alexandra Clarke, Kendall Hanley and Kirsten Welsh will serve as linespersons. 

“It’s time,” AHL president Scott Howson told ESPN. “We’re a development league, so it’s time to give these women a chance and let them advance their careers. I think it’s great for our fans to see it. The example that these women are setting for young women all over the world is that sports is wide open for everybody, really at all positions.”

The AHL’s announcement of women officiating games during the 2021-22 season comes as no surprise. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported last month that it was “very likely” women would be refereeing minor league games this year. 

Guay was one of four women to work an NHL prospect tournament in 2019, which was the first NHL-affiliated event that women had ever officiated. Cooke was also among the first women to officiate an NHL prospect tournament. 

Guay grew up playing hockey in Massachusetts and went on to play Division I hockey at Brown University. She got into officiating when her college career was over and told Sports Illustrated Kids in a 2019 interview that she wished she began refereeing games sooner. 

There is no timeline for an AHL official to be promoted to the NHL, according to Kaplan. The league chooses its officials “based on ability,” so it could be a while before Guay and the other nine women see time officiating at the next level. 

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