CUGLIETTA OFFICIATES IN GOLD-MEDAL GAME

UK official Deana Cuglietta was given the honour of officiating at the gold-medal game in last week’s U18 Women’s World Championship held in Dmitrov, close to Moscow.

The eight best teams in the under-18 women’s World Championship structure – Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden and USA – went head-to-head over eight days.

“I was amazed when I received a letter to say I had been selected to officiate at the tournament,” Cuglietta said. “I immediately upped my training, had extra power staking lessons and started a officiating training program.

“I was at this same level of tournament back in 2015, but when I arrived I got very ill with cold and bronchitis and didn’t perform to my best, so I wanted another crack at it.”

Cuglietta was one of 10 referees – along with nine linesmen – who officiated in the Pool A tournament, which saw Canada, Sweden, Russia and USA reach the semi-finals.

“During the round-robin games, supervisors select different pairings and then when it comes to the playoffs and relegation games we get selected by how we perform,” she continued.

“We are not guaranteed a certain amount of games. Like the players, everyone wants to skate in the gold-medal game. We had a very good group of officials, a lot that I have seen before, so I knew it was going to take a lot to land on top.

“When it came to the playoff round, I was feeling good. I worked hard and listened to my supervisors, so it was in their hands. I was very happy to be selected for the semi-final game between Sweden and Czech Republic.”

Deana’s excellent performances throughout the tournament meant she was chosen to referee in the final as USA beat Sweden 9-3 to win their fourth successive gold medal and their seventh in the tournament’s history.

“When I found out, it took my breath away, I almost fell off the stool. I had never felt this way before. I think I’m still in shock actually,” she said.

“I would like to thank all my fellow officials who have supported and helped me over the years, the supervisors who have guided me in the right direction, and special thanks to my family and friends for all their support.”

IHUK referee-in-chief Joy Johnston said: “The IHUK Referee Section is extremely proud of her achievement at the tournament.

“To be selected for a top-level tournament is an achievement in itself, but then to earn the gold-medal game while here is a reflection of her abilities. She did #teamstripes proud.”