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San Diego native Huntley ‘excited to be a part of history’ with NWHL officiating assignment

 

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Jamie Huntley will be part of history with the upcoming NWHL season as the San Diego native will be part of an all-female officiating crew to work the season.

It’s an opportunity that Huntley doesn’t take for granted.

“USA Hockey and the NWHL have a strong working relationship in developing all aspects of women’s hockey and I was fortunate enough to have been contacted by Matt Leaf (USA Hockey director of officiating education program) about my availability to work a condensed NWHL season,” said Huntley. “Once the NWHL was able to finalize all the details, I was contacted about being selected to work the NWHL’s sixth season.”

Huntley added that it’s pretty spectacular to be involved with what the NWHL is doing.

“It is pretty amazing to see the growth of women’s hockey over the years,” Huntley said. “When I saw this was going to be an all-female officiating crew to work the NWHL season, I was pretty blown away. Especially to be a part of a such an amazing group of female officials, which includes some of my greatest friends and mentors, I was honored and excited to be a part of history.”

Other officials working the season include Sarah Buckner (Crystal, Minn.), Erika Greenen (Romeoville, Ill.), Kendall Hanley (Minneapolis, Minn.), Alicia Hanrahan (St. Paul, Minn.), Jacqueline Howard (Gaithersburg, Md.), Jackie Spresser (Thornton, Colo.), Amanda Tassoni (Bradford, R.I.), Mackenzie Welter (Rome, N.Y.), and Laura White (Runnemede, N.J.).

huntley1The league’s regular-season contests as well as the 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs will be staged at the iconic Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., from Jan. 23–Feb. 5, 2021.

“We’re appreciative of the partnership that has been formed with the NWHL in an effort to promote and develop our female officials,” said Leaf. “The officials that have been selected are highly skilled, motivated and team-oriented officials who are up for the challenges that will be critical to the success of the NWHL season.

“They are the brightest and best of our current and future top-level female officials who bring a balance of experience, versatility, loyalty and an unmatched skill and a passion to be the best they can be each time they step on the ice.”

“I am thrilled with the officiating staff that we have assembled for the NWHL’s sixth season,” added Michelle Picard, deputy commissioner of the NWHL, who has previously played on U.S. Olympic and Women’s National Teams. “In working with Matt Leaf and USA Hockey, we’ve identified 10 of the most highly qualified officials from across the country. We are looking forward to having this group’s expertise, enthusiasm, and professionalism in Lake Placid.”

For Huntley, she grew up playing hockey in San Diego since the age of five. She skated for the La Jolla Jaguars until the last three years of high school when she played for the Anaheim Lady Ducks and Cal Selects girls teams in the Orange County area.

“I officiated one season when I was 15 years old to make a little extra cash, but never knew the opportunities that were available with USA Hockey,” Huntley said. “I was ultimately recruited to play collegiate hockey at the powerhouse Elmira College in upstate New York from 2005-09. After completing my schooling at Elmira, I moved back home to San Diego to continue my schooling.

“A great mentor of mine from San Diego, Dan Ellison, who is now the Pacific District referee-in-chief, talked me back into officiating. He actually officiated many of my games growing up and threw me in the penalty box any chance he could. Thus, I began my journey in 2010 and it has been a great experience.”

Huntley has attended USA Hockey officiating development camps, which opened the door for many opportunities, including working district and national championships. In California, especially in San Diego, she works mostly youth and adult league hockey with the occasional San Diego State University games.

“To officiate high-level games and to develop, Matt Leaf has done a great job with offering various opportunities to develop, not only myself, but many female officials, to gain the experience needed to officiate high-level games, such as the NWHL,” Huntley said. “I have been very fortunate to have met some great people throughout my career who supported me, as well as the mentors who helped lead me throughout the years in USA Hockey.

“I eventually earned my IIHF license as a referee and have traveled the world working some of the greatest women’s hockey. I have been very fortunate for the opportunities presented to me and many dreams have come true because of these opportunities.”

From left, Jackie Spresser, Jamie Huntley, Anna Wiegand and Jenni Heikkinen pose after working the IIHF World Women's Hockey Championship bronze medal game in Espoo, Finland, in April 2019.

From left, Jackie Spresser, Jamie Huntley, Anna Wiegand and Jenni Heikkinen pose together with IIHF president Rene Fasel after working the IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship bronze medal game in Espoo, Finland, in April 2019.

Along with working NWHL games, Huntley is the 14U coach for the San Diego Angels girls program that plays out of the Kroc Center.

Looking forward to the NWHL season, Huntley can’t wait to get back on the ice.

“I have been fortunate enough to have worked games in the NWHL since the inaugural season,” said Huntley. “It has been exciting to see the league expand, and this season they will be introducing the sixth team of the league. Women’s hockey as a whole has grown so much, and these professional athletes are finally being recognized and appreciated. Even with the unique formatting of this tournament, I expect this to be fast-paced, high-energy hockey games.”

Prioritizing the health and safety of the players, staff and all involved, the NWHL will play its sixth season in a centralized and protected environment. The competition will feature the NWHL’s six teams – Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, and the newest team, Toronto Six.

Launched in 2015, the NWHL features more than 120 players, including stars from NCAA Division I programs and players with national team experience from the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

— Matt Mackinder

(Dec. 31, 2020)


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