There could be a thousand players and 60 teams ready to compete, but it wouldn’t be an official, recognized hockey league without referees.
The Whitehorse Women’s Hockey Association is well aware of this prerequisite.
In preparation for the association’s fifth season, which began this week, the association held a reffing clinic to boost the number of on-ice officials last week. Getting refs on the ice for every game has been an uphill battle in past seasons.
“We didn’t have a large selection of referees (last season),” said president Vanessa Bogaert. “Some people didn’t think it was necessary that we needed a ref because, ‘It’s just the women’s league.’
“Umm, no, we do need refs.”
Thanks to the clinic, held by John Berg, referee-in-chief of Yukon Amateur Hockey, the women’s league has six new certified referees, bringing the number up to 13 available for the season.
Of the new refs, five are female.
“We’ve had one or two (female) refs in the past, but they weren’t able to stay,” said Bogaert, who will be one of the six newbies wearing black and white stripes this season.
For the third season in a row the league will have six teams, with 116 regular season games.
The league had its largest-ever registration this year. It has 107 players, five goalies and about 10-15 players on a waiting list.
Games will take place Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Playoffs will start in March.
Prior to the ref clinic, the association held a three-day skills camp for beginner and intermediate level players, with help from the Community Development Fund.
“People are always welcome to come out and watch,” said Bogaert. “It’s really fun, it’s competitive, and a great way to stay fit. And it’s a great way to socialize with other women in the community.”
The Whitehorse Women’s Hockey Association has also launched a new website at whitehorsewomenshockey.com.
Contact Tom Patrick at