Experienced former UK referee Simon Kirkham was recently one of the IIHF officiating coaches at the Under-18 Women’s World Championship in Japan.

The eight-team top-flight tournament involved Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and USA

The venue was Obihiro, 120 miles west of Sapporo where the Winter Olympics were held in 1972.

Canada won the gold medal by beating USA in the final, with America taking home silver, while Finland beat Russia to win bronze.

The IIHF officiating coaches’ roles – formerly called the referee supervisor – saw Simon joined by Stacey Livingston (USA) Freddy Reichen (SUI) and Ulla Sipila (FIN) to oversee 19 officials.

Kirkham said: “We operated a four-person system which is done at all top-level IIHF events.

“There were officials from all over the world, including the UK’s Amy Lack and it was great to work so many people.

“It is a continued honour and privilege to be assigned on behalf of the IIHF and GB as an officiating coach.

“My second championship of 2019 will be the men’s World Championship Division II Group A in Serbia in April, so also really looking forward to that.”

Pictured: Stacey Livingston, Ulla Sipila, Simon Kirkham and Freddy Reichen.