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.”
Congratulations to the four (4) @BCHockey_Source officials selected by @HockeyCanada for the 2019 @HC_NWU18 starting today! Referees Grace Barlow (Prince George) and Megan Howes (Burnaby) are joined by linespersons Melissa Brunn (Kamloops) and Danika Kroeker (Prince George). pic.twitter.com/TH4NzsvRwV— BC Hockey Officials (@BCHockey_Refs) November 5, 2019
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.
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.
#U18Nationals open up Nov. 5 with 4⃣ games on the schedule, including host Manitoba facing off against Ontario Blue in Morden, and Ontario Red opening defence of its 🥇 against Atlantic in Winkler.— U18 Nationals (@HC_NWU18) April 16, 2019
📆 | https://t.co/VpfIHqySov pic.twitter.com/QKmz0AhIKf