Over the recent Bank Holiday Weekend, two of the IIHA’s officials, Elaine McCann and Jana Gerkena, jetted off to Eastern Europe to officiate in the European Women’s Champions Cup (EWCC). This is the third year in a row that the IIHA has had officials selected to officiate in the EWCC and the second year in which both Elaine McCann and Jana Gerkena have been chosen to officiate in IIHF competitions.
Elaine travelled to Miercurea Ciuc in Romania where Group B of the First Round took place from Friday, 28th October until Sunday, 30th October. The host team, HSC Csikszereda welcomed teams from Belarus, France and Turkey. The French side Grenoble Bruleurs de Loups came out victors and will advance to the second round in December having defeated all their opponents without conceding a single goal. When asked how the experience in Romania compared to Italy the previous year, Elaine said the “trips were very similar in the way they were run; all teams and officials were together in the hotel, just around from the rink. I had the same referee supervisor as in Italy and his words were ‘I remember you from last year, I hope you remember me!’”
When asked what she found most difficult this year, Elaine explained that “with not having been an official much since my last trip abroad to Italy, I was worried about my performance and how I would be on the ice. However, it was great to get a good report after my first game, which was the first game of the weekend. It was a great experience to be on the ice with the girls and they were great too if I had any questions. One of the girls had played in the Olympics before.” Meanwhile, Elaine described her favourite moments of the weekend as “meeting new friends and getting to spend the whole weekend on the ice.”
Jana travelled to Bytom in Poland where Group A took place on the same dates. Polonia Bytom welcomed the Bolzano Eagles from Italy, the ESC Planegg from Germany and the Valladolid Panteras from Spain. The German side topped the group with maximum points and again defeated all their opponents without conceding a goal. When asked what she learnt from this experience, Jana said “I met new referees and linesmen and learned how to better prepare for games.” In preparing for the games, Jana added “when you know with which linesman you are together for the next game, the next morning when you go for practice you talk how you will do player control and we tried this on the ice without the teams. I can tell you it works brilliant and I like the way it worked out.”
Jana also described her best moment of the tournament as when she received her “assignment on the first day for most important game in tournament between the Italian and German teams. One of Europe’s top referees, Debbie Hengst, was the referee for the game and it was amazing. The tournament Chairman came into the referee room after the game and told us that we did an excellent job.” Jana also added “the best moment of the trip outside of the games was when we went to coal mines, 314 metres under ground. They used to be coal mines and now they make for all tourists, it was very interesting.” When asked how she prepared for the tournament, Jana explained “I didn’t miss one practice in Belfast, plus I went to Latvia in August and officiated at an U16 tournament in Riga.”
While away, both officials officiated in three games each. This isn’t the first time that these officials have been chosen to officiate in IIHF competitions and it most certainly won’t be the last time. The IIHA would like to congratulate both officials on being selected to officiate at the tournaments.