Mar 3, 2022

San Jose, CA – As part of Hockey Is For Everyone Night (HIFE) on Sun., March 6, the San Jose Barracuda (@SJBarracuda) game against the Tucson Roadrunners at 5 p.m. will feature a diverse group of on-ice officials including, for the first time ever, a pair of female officials (Samantha Hiller – Referee, Kirsten Welsh – Linesperson) working a Barracuda game. In addition, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, who is the only active Black referee in the AHL, will also be part of the crew.

Additionally, the AHL’s Vice President of Hockey Operations, Hayley Moore, will be dropping the ceremonial first puck.

During warmups, both teams will have the opportunity to use pride tape on their hockey sticks and during the intermission, there will be a Jr. Sharks shoutout challenge featuring multiple members from the girls’ program. The Zamboni drivers working the game will be female members of the staff from Sharks Ice.

There are expected to be more than 150 girls in attendance for the game from the Jr. Sharks 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U, and 19U programs.

About Samantha Hiller:

In her first season in the AHL, Hiller, 28, a native of Boulder, Colorado, has been officiating hockey games since she was 14 years old and has also spent time working on the Colorado Avalanche ice crew.  She made her AHL debut on Oct. 23, 2021, in a game between the Chicago Wolves and Milwaukee Admirals. Hiller, a full-time firefighter and paramedic in Lake Forest, Ill., was one of 10 female officials hired by the AHL this past offseason. 

About Kirsten Welsh:

In her first season in the AHL, Welsh, 25, a native of Blackstock, Ontario, played four years of DI hockey at Robert Morris University before crossing over to officiating in 2019. She became the first female official in an Ontario Hockey League game between the Guelph Storm and Mississauga Steelheads on Sept. 30, 2021. Welsh first was introduced to officiating in 2019 when she attended the Exposure Combine and then the 2020 Mentorship Program, an NHL initiative to have NHL officials work with elite female officials to spur conversation on the profession, including tips, tricks, and advice.

About Hayley Moore:

Moore, 35, just concluded her first year as the AHL’s VP of Hockey Operations after serving in various capacities with the Boston Pride of the National Woman’s Hockey League (now the Premier Hockey Federation – FHL) from 2015-20, including president and general manager. Moore played four years at Brown University from 2004-08, before serving as an assistant coach at UMass-Boston (2009-10) and at Harvard University (2012-13). In 2015, her first year as the general manager of the Pride, she selected Kendall Coyne Schofield in the 2015 NWHL Draft.


About Jordan Samuels-Thomas:

Samuels-Thomas, 31, is in his second season as an official in the AHL after a six-year playing career. The West Hartford, Conn., native was selected in the seventh round (203rd overall) by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009 after playing collegiately at Bowling Green State University and Quinnipiac University. In total, he played 195 games in the AHL between Rochester, Ontario, and San Diego, notching 56 points (28 goals, 28 assists) and 151 penalty minutes. Samuels-Thomas also had stints playing in the ECHL and in Europe.

Pucks and Paws:

The annual Barracuda Pucks & Paws game is back! Have you ever wanted to come watch a Barracuda game with man’s best friend? If so, this is your chance! Bring your canine friends for this special treat on Sun., Mar. 6 at 5 p.m. as your Barracuda take on the Tucson Roadrunners. For full details, click HERE.


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