Saskatchewan Officials Find Success at Esso Cup
The 2017 edition of the Esso Cup, Canada’s National Female Midget Championship, ran from April 23rd – 29th. This year’s tournament took place in Morden, Manitoba and witnessed four Saskatchewan born officials work games. Making Saskatchewan proud were Krista Funke of Regina, Alex Blair of Weyburn, Cianna Lieffers of Saskatoon, and Jen Busby also of Saskatoon. The four officials were a significant part of the entire tournament and three of these individuals were fortunate to work medal games.
Officiating in the gold medal game were Cianna and Jen, while the bronze medal game saw Krista get the call. Krista believes that it is the opportunities Saskatchewan hockey provides to it’s officials that is a testament to their success, “whether it's being able to work high level Male leagues or the fact that we have so many opportunities in the female program … It becomes clear why we have had so much recent success at National assignments”. Krista, along with her Saskatchewan colleagues were given praise for their involvement throughout the tournament. Todd Robinson, Referee-in-chief with Hockey Canada said “it was a pleasure to work with all of them” stating that “they all bought into the game plan at the start of the week allowing the game to come to them and not forcing it”.
The Saskatchewan Hockey Association’s Referee’s Division deserves credit as well, especially being tasked with adding two officials late in the process. Both Cianna and Jen were added to the tournament rosters after the nomination deadline. There were fourteen officials total; seven referees and seven linesmen working the tournament. Saskatchewan being represented by three of the seven referees and providing the only out of province linesmen bodes well for the program and the commitment of the province’s young female officials.