History is going to be made Thursday night in Mississauga, Ont.
The Ontario Hockey League announced that Kirsten Welsh will become the first female linesperson in OHL history when she takes to the ice tonight for a pre-season game between the Mississauga Steedheads and Guelph Storm.
The Blackstock, Ont., native will be a member of the OHL officiating team for the 2021-22 season and is also scheduled to work Friday's matchup between the Oshawa Generals and Windor Spitfires.
“This is an incredible opportunity and I can’t really put into words what it feels like to be working in the Ontario Hockey League,” said Welsh in a news release. “Just being one of the first women to do this, it really opens that door to women in hockey who want to have an alternate avenue that maybe isn’t playing in the Premier Hockey Federation or playing on a national team.
“Being an advocate and having this opportunity, I just feel so lucky,” she added in the same release. “It’s an incredible process to be a part of. I’m so lucky I can be a part of something that is going to affect generations of little girls.”
Welsh played in college at Robert Morris University, recording 91 points over 128 regular season games from 2015 to 2019.
“We first met Kirsten at the NHL Exposure Combine in 2019 and we were immediately impressed by her presence on the ice,” said OHL Director of Officiating Conrad Haché in a news release. “She approaches and prepares for each game in a professional way, is a great skater and has a tremendous desire to continually improve. These traits will not only make her a great OHL official, but also a great ambassador for our League.”