Prior to officiating, Huntley enjoyed a sensational run as a competitor. Skating for the Elmira College Soaring Eagles, one of the most accomplished programs in NCAA Division III hockey, she established herself as a two-sport star, also excelling on the diamond with the softball program, it propelled Huntley into exalted status. Reflecting on the experience of donning the purple paraphernalia of Elmira, campus life was akin to a small village.
“Playing for Elmira College, I was able to play competitive hockey for a top Division III program, as well as play Softball. Playing for Elmira, you are able to play sports as well as have a social life along with your academics. Elmira was a small school and you were really able to make lifelong friendships with different people, not just your teammates.”
As an official, the number of milestones accumulated reflects a sterling career poised for even greater heights. Having enjoyed the chance to work both Olympic qualifying and World Championship events, it stands as testament to her potential.
“Being able to work an Olympics qualifying tournament and a few World Championships was a great opportunity and an honor to be selected to work such important events. Being able to serve the game to the best of my abilities, no matter what level, is the goal as well as to continue to grow and learn. As the game continues to grow, we as officials have to grow with them in order to continue to be selected for these high level events.
Just as impressive her officiating endeavors, Huntley was also found behind the bench. Admirably serving in the capacity of head coach with the Junior Gulls, it has provided her with tremendous perspective. Undeniably, her background as an official has allowed her to be a much more effective coach, bringing a cerebral approach, a strong background allowing the youth players the opportunity to benefit and grow from a highly knowledgeable individual. Remaining focused on the key objective of providing a fun environment for the players, it serves to strengthen Huntley’s standing as a role model.
“I believe my officiating background helps as a coach because you see the game a little differently, and I know how to explain the rules to the kids. I think having the officiating background, along with the playing background helps with the overall knowledge of the game and helping youth grow in a positive, fun, as well as in a competitive nature.”
Propelling Huntley into part of an empowering movement in sporting equality, her work as an official reached a new apex. Working with Erin Blair at a Southern Professional Hockey League game, it marked another remarkable chapter in the league’s history.
In addition to their collaborative efforts, the SPHL has seen Katie Guay, who also officiated an event at the 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis, grace the ice in the referee’s zebra stripes. Additionally, multiple Winter Games gold medalist Shannon Szabados stood between the pipes for the Columbus Cottonmouths , making history, and generating significant excitement, with every subsequent appearance.
With fond recollections of the event, gaining the opportunity to officiate a professional men’s ice hockey contest, it stands as one of her proudest achievements, “Being able to work an SPHL game with Erin Blair was a great opportunity. Being able to skate with and learn from an experienced official, such as Erin, is always a plus. Being able to work a different level game, especially on the men’s professional side is a step in the right direction for all female officials looking to grow the game for all.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”