In a groundbreaking moment for both the Bluewater Referees Association and Sarnia Hockey Association, an all-female officiating crew took charge of the Sarnia Jr Sting U14A/AA game on Friday 10 November 2023, marking a
significant milestone for gender equality in sports officiating.
Emilee Bendell lead the crew and wore the bands. She was supported by Sarah Gardner and Rayna Hartle on the lines. This momentous event not only showcases the dedication and skill of these talented individuals but also underscores the strides being made towards inclusivity and diversity at Sarnia Hockey.
Both SHA and BRA are organizations that are committed to fostering an environment encouraging participation and opportunities for everyone, regardless of gender. The opportunity to bring together an all-female officiating crew is a testament to this commitment and a positive step forward in breaking down traditional gender norms within the sport.
Recognizing the importance of this occasion, there were BRA referees gathered to show their support for Emilee, Sarah, and Rayna and highlight the significance of this achievement.
This celebration is not just about hockey; it's about empowerment, breaking barriers, and inspiring the next generation of female athletes and officials. This first all-female officiating crew is a beacon of progress, signaling that gender should never be a limitation in pursuing one's passion and contributing to the world of sports.
It's a moment for the entire community to come together, applauding the courage and skill of these women who are reshaping the landscape of hockey officiating. SHA and the BRA will continue championing equality and diversity in sports.
PHOTO: Team Captains Ryland Nutma (Sarnia Jr Sting) and Charlie Matsos (St Thomas Stars) with Officials Emilee Bendell (Referee), Rayna Hartle and Sarah Gardner