Over the weekend of the 11th and 12th March, the Sydney Sirens played host to the 2017 AWIHL Finals Series. In what will go down as one of the most exciting games of ice hockey witnessed in a very long time, the Sydney Sirens won the Joan McKeown Trophy and their first AWIHL Final. Unbeknownst to most people in the jam-packed Canterbury Olympic Ice Rink, another first for the AWIHL was quietly working away ensuring both teams had an equal opportunity to take home the gold. This first was also a long time in the making.
The number of female officials across the country has been slowly increasing over the past few years and their dedication to their craft resulted in three IIHF accredited officials for the 2016-2017 IIHF year – Ainslie Gardner (Referee), Beth Bowshall (Linesman), Cien Pereira (Linesman). Based on their performances throughout the season, and recognising the opportunity to have three IIHF accredited officials present at the Finals Series, all three officials were selected for the AWIHL showpiece.
The three officials worked together during Semi-Final 1 and were rewarded for their efforts with the Gold Medal game. The importance of the occasion of having three female officials officiating in a AWIHL Gold Medal game was not lost on the three officials and they performed spectacularly in this history making event for the AWIHL.