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Alberta ref Lacey Senuk heading to Beijing Olympics

The St. Albert ice officiator will demonstrate her unflappable but fair demeanor as one of the refs for hockey when the Winter Olympics start on Feb. 4.
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Lacey Senuk is heading to international ice once again. The well-traveled St. Albert ref's new assignment takes her to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics. SUPPLIED/Photo

There's no bad day at the rink, says Lacey Senuk, who has officiated on hockey rinks around the world. The world will certainly be watching her in February as she takes to the ice as one of the referees for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

It won't be her first time calling penalties in China.

"I've been pretty fortunate. I've gotten to go around the world with officiating. It's been pretty, pretty rewarding … pretty cool," she offered, emphasizing that she meant literally around the world by listing off Canada and the United States, Italy, Russia, Finland, the Czech Republic, and even Mexico City and Malaysia.

"Places you'd never think that you’d be there skating hockey."

Senuk got her start on St. Albert ice while playing recreational hockey with a bunch of friends, some of whom were officials themselves. They convinced her that black and white with a whistle would suit her. Being a by-the-book type, she tried it "and fell in love with it pretty much immediately."

"I started officiating in 2008, 2009 in St. Albert. Essentially, the first year, I did a lot of just recreational hockey and then the following season, I moved into a lot more minor hockey in St. Albert, and moved up through the ranks there in different national and international events throughout the years," she said, adding, "I'm pretty passionate about it. There's no bad day at the rink, that's for sure."

Moving up through those ranks eventually got her to Hockey Canada, which licensed her as a referee for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). Opening that door was what got her to this moment.

"I was licensed for a number of years before I got an event and then I finally got an event. I sunk my teeth into it and haven't let go."

She said being firm but fair is her solid approach to every game.

Her first IIHF event was in Shanghai, but no previous international gig comes even close to this next one.

“This is my first Olympics. So pretty, pretty exciting.”

Regardless of how the matches play out, Senuk knows she'll end up feeling like a winner.

"I've never lost a game yet," she joked. "I'm still undefeated because at the end of the day, you're out there to do a job and keep the game fair and safe. You don't decide who wins or loses, you just enforce the rules."

Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Ecology and Environment Reporter at the Fitzhugh Newspaper since July 2022 under Local Journalism Initiative funding provided by News Media Canada.
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