A dream assignment
RICHARD MACKENZIE TRURO NEWS richard.mackenzie @saltwire.com
TRURO — Exciting and gratifying. For Truro native Miranda Mcmillan, those were the terms that summed up her opportunity to officiate at a couple of professional women’s hockey games in her hometown while also seeing how the community embraced the event. Mcmillan was on the lines for games 2 and 3 of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association’s Secret Dream Gap Tour, held earlier this month at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. “Looking around the stands and seeing a full arena, people excited about female hockey, that was amazing,” Mcmillan said. A player with the Dalhousie Tigers of the Atlantic University Sport conference, Mcmillan entered coaching after her playing days and then took up refereeing after stepping away from the bench. “When I knew I was going to step away, I had some friends of mine reach out,” she said. “Friends who were officials who said: ‘This could be a good opportunity, we think you would make a great official.’ I took an interest in it and have come back every year since.” Mcmillan said that was five years ago and while she has officiated some male hockey, she sticks mostly to female games since there is a need for officials. “There is a shortage of officials in female hockey, so I like to stay in that realm,” she said. “I will be involved with U-11 right up to the AUS. I will ref everything up to U-18 major and then, in AUS, I predominantly line (lineswoman).” Getting assigned to work PWHPA games was a major feather in her cap. Her dad Doug was one of those in the stands not only cheering on the players but also the officials. “Seeing Miranda on the ice officiating a professional hockey game before many of my friends in Truro was very exciting for me,” Doug said. “I have watched Miranda excel at everything she puts herself into — academics, her work, playing hockey up through the university level, coaching at the female midget AAA level (now U-18 major), and now at officiating ... I am very proud of her.” One of the players Mcmillan coached at the U-18 level was Terra Lanteigne, who played goal for Boston/team Bauer at the event. “She was on the bench to start the game; I said a quick ‘hello,’ so we briefly caught up,” Mcmillan said. She said having the coaching and playing experience has been beneficial to her as an on-ice official. “As a referee going in to talk to a coach, you kind of have an idea of what they’re looking for, what they might say,” Mcmillan said. “And being a high-level player, I feel like I can read the play a little bit. Anticipate where things are going and utilize that to make sure I’m in the right position to make the call.” Mcmillan was impressed with the calibre of play at the event, especially since many of the players hadn’t been in game action for some time. “It was a great pace,” she said. “I think early on, you could tell, given COVID and things like that, maybe there were some players who hadn’t been on the ice for a while. Or, at least, hadn’t played together for some time. But as the weekend went on, it became better, faster, and more intense ... that was fun.” Her dad agreed. “I thoroughly enjoyed watching her on ice while in the company of those important to her — her partner and friends, which made it that much more special,” Doug said. And on Sundays, dad and daughter share the ice. “I come home quite a bit and get to play some pickup hockey with my father every Sunday night, so that is kind of cool,” Mcmillan said.