WINNIPEG, Man. – Eastman’s Ally Wareham (Steinbach) was one of three female officials who became a certified Level IV official during the 2019 – 2020 season and she is looking forward to inspiring other female officials in Manitoba to do the same.
“It was really humbling. You grow up your whole life in the hockey community knowing that there are six levels and as a female official knowing that the best female officials in the world are Level 5 and so to be offered my Level 4 was jaw-dropping to be honest.” Wareham said.
Wareham, 25, has been officiating for 11 years (she took one leave of absence year). She started officiating at 13 years old after her neighbour Leo Gautron, a Hockey Manitoba official, suggested that she give it a try.
“He gave me my first pair of pants and did one of my first games with me and I just fell in love with it. ” Wareham said.
When Wareham left home to attend Brandon University at 18 years old she continued officiating in the Westman region and was eventually promoted to a Level 3 official. She officiated in various leagues, including lining Assiniboine Community College women’s hockey games. While attending Brandon University, Wareham worked for two years as a student trainer for the Bobcats female volleyball team.
Wareham returned home to the Eastman region at 23 years old and over the last couple of years she has lined games in both men’s and women’s leagues, including the Manitoba Female U18 AAA Hockey League, the Capital Region Junior B League, the Manitoba Women’s Junior Hockey League and the Hanover Tache Junior C Hockey League.
During the 2019-2020 season, Wareham lined her first University of Manitoba Bisons women’s hockey game and was selected to represent Hockey Manitoba at the 2020 Telus Cup Western Regional Championship in Virden in April before it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wareham says that one of the highlights of her officiating career so far was lining an exhibition game at the 2019 National Women’s Under-18 Championship in Altona last fall.
“That was an incredible experience because I loved the crew I was working with. It’s four man and there’s not a lot of opportunities to do four man in female hockey. To see what the next step is to do Nationals was really exciting.”
This coming fall is going to a busy one for Wareham as she will begin her first full-time teaching position at Mitchell Middle School, where she once was a student. She recently graduated from the University of Manitoba.
Wareham will also be teaching Level 1 and Level 2 officiating clinics for Hockey Manitoba for the second consecutive year.
“I obviously have a love of teaching, that’s my career and I enjoy it and I like being able to combine those two worlds, my knowledge as an educator with my knowledge of the rule book in ways that help young officials and players.” Wareham said.