All Female Crew Set To Officiate PJHL Game This Weekend
Friday, Dec. 1st, 2017 - It was the vision of the late Jason Mercer years ago to have the first all female officiating crew work a game in the Prairie Junior Hockey League (PJHL). That vision is now becoming a reality under the direction of the current Referee-In-Chief - Dallas Davison and President of the league - Mike Zambon.
Mercer served as the Referee-In-Chief of the PJHL for several seasons and was a leader in the province’s Referee Division. He saw the potential of the female officials in Saskatchewan and new that one day this could happen. That time is now!
The game will take place Sunday, December 3 at 5pm at the Rod Hamm Arena in Saskatoon between the Saskatoon Quakers and Regina Silver Foxes.
The four-official crew will include Cianna Lieffers of Cudworth, Michelle Stapleton of Moose Jaw, Jessica Coleman of Brandtford, Ont. and Alex Clarke of Drake. The officials have all since relocated in Saskatchewan and have proved to be among the top elite female officials within the province.
“I am proud to be a part of the Saskatchewan Officials Development Model as the Director of Officials of the Prairie Junior Hockey League,” stated Davison. “These officials working this weekend and many others are a just a snapshot of our increasing development standards and rising National and International assignments for SHA officials. I am very proud to have these officials associated with the PJHL as they work in various high level leagues including our Prairie Junior Hockey League.”
Lieffers, who currently resides in Humboldt, after moving from Saskatoon has been an official for nine seasons. She is a current level 4 official, who recently attended the Hockey Canada Level 5/6 Camp in Moncton, NB last weekend. Lieffers has earned several provincial, national and international championship assignments during her career as a referee including the IIHF Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament Group J in Mexico City last year.
Stapleton, who now lives in Saskatoon, has a similar resume, as she is a Level 5 official, the highest level a female official can achieve in the Hockey Canada structure. Stapleton has been officiating for 15 seasons and has also earned provincial, national and international assignments as a referee, which featured trips to Almaty, Kazakhston and Budapest, Hungary for the 2017 Winter Universiade Game and 2017 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship Div. I Group A Tournament.
Coleman, who will serve as one of the two linesmen for Sunday’s game, moved from Ontario to the Battlefords and has been officiating for 17 seasons. She recently attended the SHA’s Level 4/5 camp this season and has worked provincial and national championships. Last season, was her first taste at a national championship, as she worked the 2016 Hockey Canada National Women’s U18 Championship in Regina along with Clarke and Lieffers.
Clarke, the other linesman on the crew residence in Weyburn. She returning to officiating after playing hockey in the states and has progressed quickly through the officiating ranks. Clarke, like Coleman attended the Level 4/5 camp this season and has worked provincial and national championships and will have her first taste of international hockey later this season at the 2018 IIHF Women’s World Div. I Group B Championship in Mexico City. She also worked the 2017 National Women’s U18 Championship the last two season and earned the gold medal game as a linesman in 2016 and as ref in 2017.
All four officials are active supervisors and instructors within the SHA’s Referee Division and all four can regularly be found working games in the SJHL, PJHL, SMAAAHL and Female USports and SFMAAAHL.
These four officials highlight a small sample size of the potential of the female officiating program in Saskatchewan. The number have been steadily increasing in the past five years with the number of female officials in the province and this also sows the number of high level female officials is moving in the right direction.
Pictured (Left to Right): Michelle Stapleton, Cianna Lieffers, Jessica Coleman and Alex Clarke
For more information please contact:
Manager, Officiating Development
Saskatchewan Hockey Association
Tel (306) 789-5101