MJHL continues to be a league of diversity

By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent

 The Manitoba Junior Hockey League has proven itself to be a launching pad many times over. Whether it is players, coaches, support staff, and even officials – the MJHL has routinely shown it’s a league which attracts high-calibre talent, and then helps develop it.

That includes the officials who work the games. Kaylah Krieger (nee Turner), is a nine-year officiating vet who works as one of the league’s officials in western Manitoba. She’s quick to downplay the fact she’s a woman working in a heavily male dominated sport. Simply, she’s working the MJHL because she enjoys the challenge and she’s qualified to work games.

She has been officiating since she was 16 years old and started playing when she was 15. But Krieger, who has her Level 4 certification, was already quite a strong skater thanks to her previous winter sport ─ skill sets which helped her transition into a hockey official.

“I was a speed skater for about 12 years, and then I started playing hockey when I was 15,” she said.

She first donned the stripped jersey back in him hometown of Mellville, SK. As if was often the case, she loved the challenge of the job and quickly excelled. But there was another draw to being an official ─ her brother.

“My older brother is a referee,” says the 25-year-old Clear Lake resident. “He was doing a lot of games, and I saw him doing, it, having fun and making some money, so I figured why not give it a shot.”

Based in the western region of the province, Krieger typically works games in Dauphin, Waywayseecappo, Neepawa and Virden. It’s been about three years since Krieger first started working for the MJHL and she tries to work a steady amount for the league while also balancing our her obligations to other levels of hockey. And, there’s also her day job which keeps her schedule full.

“My first (MJHL) game was back in 2015,” said Krieger, who is employed as a power engineer. “I do about four games a month, so roughly 20 games a year.”

She has also worked Hockey Canada tournaments, including working women’s games at the Canada Games, Under-18 championships, and CIS Nationals.

With nine years of officiating under her belt, Krieger says the passion and desire to be at the rink is as strong as ever.

“I like being able to remain active and competitive,” she said. “It’s good to still be on the ice, and I like being out there with people who want to be out there. Who want to be out in the community helping out. That’s what keeps me going.”

She’s already doing games at the CIS, junior A and Canada Games level. Is there yet another level she could reach?

“I would take any opportunity that is (presented) to me,” says Krieger “I would say I’m happy where I’m at, but I’m going to keep working at my skills and see where it takes me.”

And as far as the MJHL is concerned, Krieger has already demonstrated a strong work ethic, as well as the drive to improve herself.

“Kaylah has demonstrated the skills necessary to work as a linesman in the MJHL and she continues to work hard at becoming the best official she can be,” said Jody Wielgosh, MJHL Director of Officiating.