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Two Prince George referees taking the ice at National Women’s Under-18 Championships

Grace Barlow, Danika Kroeker suiting up for one of Hockey Canada’s marquee events

A pair of Prince George athletes are helping bring up Canada’s next generation of women’s hockey talent by making sure they play fair.

Grace Barlow and Danika Kroeker have been called upon by Hockey Canada to officiate at the 2019 National Women’s Under-18 Championships in Manitoba this week.

The local products are two of four referees from B.C. selected by the governing body to participate in the four-day tournament that started yesterday (Nov. 5).

“Going to Nationals was a dream when I played so now to be here as an official and giving back to the game is an incredible feeling,” said Barlow to PrinceGeorgeMatters.

“This opportunity is not one that was given alone, I have had so much support from not only Prince George Minor Hockey, Tyler Garden and everyone at home, but also BC Hockey and my amazing supervisors, Dan Hanoomansingh and Vanessa Stratton.”

Barlow is grateful, explaining this experience can help her get to higher levels of hockey officiating and improve on her leadership skills. 

“I am here with some of the best female officials in the country and I feel so honoured to call them my peers,” said Barlow, who is also an assistant coach with the Northern Capitals of the BC Female Midget AAA league.

“I hope this opportunity opens more doors for me and shows other young women that when they feel like hanging up the skates, there are other roads to travel down; you never know where you might end up!”

Both Barlow and Kroeker already have impressive resumes under their officiating belts, including acknowledgements from Hockey Canada for their dedication to the sport.

Barlow was given the Kenneth R. Stiles Memorial Scholarship for her contributions, while Kroeker was named the Most Promising Official for BC Hockey.

The National Women’s Under-18 Hockey Championship pins the nation’s best rising female hockey stars in province-against-province contests (excluding territories).

For this event, Ontario is split into two teams and the Maritimes are combined into one Atlantic squad.

Barlow and Kroeker will be suiting up for assigned games until a champion is crowned on Saturday, Nov. 9.


Kyle  Balzer

About the Author: Kyle Balzer

Kyle Balzer graduated with distinction from BCIT's Broadcast & Online Journalism program in 2016. Since moving to Prince George, he has covered a variety of stories from education & Indigenous relations, to community interests & sports.
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