Officiating Pioneer Kelly Cooke Returns to Lead NWHL Player Safety Committee
The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) today announced that the Player Safety Committee (PSC) will once again be led by Kelly Cooke during the 2019-20 season. Cooke, who recently made international headlines as one of the first four females to officiate NHL prospect games, was a member of the Isobel Cup-winning Boston Pride in the NWHL’s first season. This will be her fourth season as director of the PSC, which is tasked with reviewing plays for potential supplemental discipline.
Cooke, who earned her law degree earlier this year at Northeastern University School of Law, is joined on the committee by NCAA and USA Hockey official Alicia Hanrahan, 2014 U.S. Olympian Josephine Pucci, ECHL VP of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst, and longtime women’s hockey coach Bobby Jay. The committee has the ability to suspend players and issue warnings.
“As an official and a lawyer, this role with the NWHL fits perfectly with what I know, what I love to do, and how I want to give back to the game,” said Cooke. “Our team embraces this responsibility and takes player safety seriously, and the NWHL’s extensive broadcast coverage enables us to have the video we need to review plays and make decisions. I’m appreciative of Lish, Josephine, Joe and Bobby for giving their time, talents and dedication to support professional women’s hockey.”
In September, Cooke was a referee in three games of the Nashville Predators’ Prospect Showcase, which also included the Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals. Joining her in the quartet of history-makers were referee Katie Guay and linesman Kendall Hanley, who both officiate NWHL games, and linesman Kirsten Welsh.
“I learned a lot,” said Cooke. “It was an incredible experience, and no doubt I will take it with me as the NWHL season gets started this weekend.”