"Katie Guay is breaking the glass ceiling in hockey. As the first female referee to officiate the Olympics, Division I hockey games, and the NHL Prospect Tournament, she is widening the path for other women to follow and excel in the sport of ice hockey. I got the chance to talk to her about her career.
SI Kids: Tell me about your hockey career.
Katie Guay: I started playing youth hockey when I was six years old. I followed the path of my older brother and older sister. I played for the girl’s hockey team at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and then Brown University’s Division I team.
SIK: What first inspired you to become a referee?
KG: I missed being around the rink once I was done playing at 22. The NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League) was not around yet, so there were few chances for opportunities to continue to play after college. I thought I would give officiating a try. I am really happy that I did. I wish I had started earlier. It’s a good way to be a student of the game and to learn the game from a new lens.
SIK: What have you done as an official?
KG: The game gave me a lot of opportunities as an official. When I first started, I found a mentor who had been to a couple of Olympics. I set my sights on doing an international tournament. I had the chance to go to France to do the World Championship in 2010. After that, I set my goal higher with my ultimate goal to go to the Olympics. I had the chance to officiate the Olympics last year in PyeongChang, South Korea. I refereed a semi-final game between Russia and Canada.
Another one of my goals was to referee Division I hockey. I was the first female to officiate the men’s NCAA Beanpot Tournament at TD Garden in Boston. I was also part of the team of four women officials to referee the NCAA Women’s final.
SIK: Who was your mentor?
KG: My mentor was Julie Piacentini. She went to the 2002 and 2006 Olympics. In 2010, she was the first woman to officiate an NCAA Division I Woman’s final.
SIK: What was it like to referee at the Olympics?
KG: It was incredible. I was a member of the U.S. under-22 national team, but I didn’t make the senior team. I never imagined that I would still have a chance to get to the Olympics as an official. I officiated the first game at the Olympics. o be able to step on the ice was a surreal feeling. To be part of it was truly amazing.
SIK: What did it take for you to get to this position?
KG: USA Hockey has a development program. There are a few different summer officiating camps similar to player development camps. On the women’s side, there are two camps. It starts with the futures camp, which is the first development opportunity for officials to get licensed through the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation). I went to two camps and was certified as an IIHF official."
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