With the 2010s having signified a remarkable generation of female hockey heroes emerging from Prairie Canada, the tremendous impact made extended beyond the players. Running parallel to this time involved an unprecedented growth in the number of women that have donned the referee’s zebra stripes, expanding the possibilities
Among Prairie Canada’s most impressive female referees, Cianna Lieffers, a resident of Saskatchewan, has already experienced a series of brushes with history. Having officiated numerous events, Lieffers enjoyed the opportunity to become part of an exclusive sorority. Joined by the likes of Michelle Stapleton, Krista Funke, and Alex Clarke, this empowering all-female officiating crew at a Midget AAA game in Saskatchewan.
“This AAA game held in Moose Jaw, SK was a game I will never forget. Not only did I get the chance to skate with 3 close friends (Michelle Stapleton, Krista Funke, and Alex Clarke) but I also got to be apart of the first ever all female crew to officiate a AAA game.
In the last 5 years, Saskatchewan Referee division has had significant growth and development within its female program. This was our chance to showcase how far we have come in the last five years. The fact that we were able to put 4 qualified females on the ice at a AAA level was an amazing accomplishment.
However, this game had underlying significance for us 4 on the ice and our officials coach. One of our officiating mentor/coaches, who was also the AAA league assignor for officials, had a dream of having an all female crew work a game in his league. He had passed away before we had the chance to accomplish this goal. Finally making this dream of his come true, made this AAA game even more special to us and there is no doubt that he was in the rink that day, proud of what we accomplished.”
On officiating in the SJHL and working Humboldt Broncos games, finding inspiration by the way the team has bounced back after such tragedy
“I have been working in the SJHL as a linesman for the past five seasons. This was a great opportunity to work faster and more skilled hockey. This has allowed me to further develop myself as an official for two reasons; the elevated skill level and the opportunity to work with and learn from other senior officials within the league. I am fortunate to be one of few females working in this league as I truly believe this league has made a crucial impact on my development as an official in both male and female hockey.
It truly is amazing how the team has responded and it is inspiring being on the ice working their games. They have full support within the community and it is shown at every single home game.”
On getting the chance to officiate at the 2020 World Youth Olympics
“I was honored to be selected by the IIHF to officiate at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games. This was an amazing event that allowed me to work with officials and supervisors from all around the world. The 17 days spent in Lausanne Switzerland were incredible. Events like these are truly amazing, as they bring together people from various different countries. This was the first year that they had the 3 on 3 events at the Youth Olympics and this allowed for individual players to represent their country at the Olympic level. The second week was the 6 nations tournament. It was a great experience to be there for both events (3 on 3 and the 6 Nations tournament) and I was honored to be selected to work the gold medal game for both championships.”
Reflections on having officiated in Scotland and Mexico City.
“I have been very fortunate to have had some amazing travel opportunities to officiate hockey. My first taste of international hockey was as a linesman in Mexico City for an Olympic Qualifier. This was very exciting as it was my first international event. My second event was as a referee in Dumfries, Scotland.
The countries that host have spent countless hours preparing for these events and the support from the volunteers and fans demonstrate this. It really is awesome to see the support and love for hockey in these countries. Regardless of where you go or what language is spoken, you’re all there for the same reason and that’s hockey.
These international opportunities have combined two of my passions, hockey and travelling (as I have spent two summers backpacking South East Asia and South America). I will be forever grateful for the memories, travel opportunities, and lifelong friends that hockey has given me!”
”All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”