For as long as she remembered, Elizabeth Mantha had a passion for hockey.
Over the past ten years, his love for the sport, a favorite among Quebecers, has changed somewhat. Do not think it is less powerful, on the contrary. Her relationship with the regime has changed quite simply, as it nurtures a genuine passion for the profession of referee.
Detroit striker Red Wings’ elder sister Anthony Mantha is climbing the career ranks at a rapid pace, and she is the one who must participate in the U-18 Women’s World Championships and the Four Nations Cup.
The 30-year-old also plays men’s hockey. She is also the second woman to hold a position in the AAA Quebec Midget Hockey League and also performs the stint in the AAA Quebec Junior Hockey League.
“I say it with humility, but in Quebec, I can put my place in the midst of the players.” She said without embarrassment, when asked about the fact that she works in a male environment, I am able to perform and show the supervisors that my place is there.
Thank you, Isabel LeClair
Before breaking glass ceilings, Mantha was first and foremost a hockey player. The defensive player contributed significantly to winning the League Championship with the Carabins of the University of Montreal (UdeM) during the 2012-2013 season.
Nevertheless, the athlete has already started his journey of judging. Before moving to UdeM, she was studying in Ottawa, where she landed a job as a referee with the entertainment institution unions.
“When I got back to Montreal the following year, I signed up for refereeing tournaments, and that’s where my adventure really began. I started at the base, at the atom and junior level. This is where almost all judges start.”
In her advancement as an official, Mantha would have been disrupted by her obligations as a player.
“I was fortunate to have Isabelle Leclerc as a coach at the University of Montreal. She was very understanding. Understands women’s hockey issues. There aren’t many opportunities as a player. It really allowed me to take advantage of all the experiences that were available to me. It allowed me to miss some team activities to participate in Referee selection camps. Not all coaches did that. “
“This allowed me to have a fast track after the end of my university career, because I had the opportunity to develop as an administrator at the same time,” she added with gratitude.
This does not mean, however, that Leclaire let her forget her responsibilities as a hockey player.
“I remember Isabelle called me to attend a meeting in her office because when I was sitting on the bench, I was watching the referees a lot instead of focusing on the match,” Mantha recalls laughing.
At the end of her college career in 2015, Longueuilloise definitely replaced her stick and shoulder pads for the striped sweater.
Since then, she has been considered one of the best in her profession, but is it possible that she could hope to make a living from her passion?
“It’s in my wildest dreams, but I don’t know if it will ever happen to me. Even for the male referee, it’s very difficult. Not much openness. Even in the US Hockey League, referees should have another job at the same time. Pointed out the person who also works as a superintendent at 911 Central in Montreal.
To earn a living from being a referee, you have to reach the highest points: the National Hockey League (LNH). As of today, no women have formalized World’s Best Hockey League
It is also a dream, but can it be realized? I do not know. For two or three years, the NHL appears to be more open. She invited female rulers to the camp of male rulers. “
Mantha has participated in one of her camps in recent years.
We were four girls out of about fifty men. NHL officials were watching us from the stands and taking notes. Basically, we have to pass the tests on and off the ice. “
“It allowed me to compare myself to the standards expected in the NHL. […] It gave me a taste of going further. “
Mantha has kept going around the NHL for the past year.
In December, the NHL held Zoom sessions with the officials working for it. They explain to us certain things or help us in some of the complex situations we have already experienced. It’s a way to gain experience, despite the fact that we can’t stay on the ice right now. “
Given that she is under the radar of the Pitman Circle and that she knows what it takes to evolve there, does Mantha think she will be a part of it in one day?
“Yes, I think so. We have our place there.” She answered confidently “I don’t think there are many missing.”
However, the eventual presence of a referee in the NHL is not an individual goal for Mantha, who just wants it to happen.
“Whether it is me or a future generation, I would like to see it with my own eyes and would like to help make it happen.”
Meanwhile, the former full-back has another specific, short-term goal in mind: the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
“I train several times a week with this goal in mind. It wasn’t long ago and I really believed in it.”
Mantha is on track to achieve her goal, which will be automatic at the 2021 Women’s Hockey World Championship in May in Nova Scotia.
A helping hand from a brother?
Taking advantage of Mantha’s generosity and vast experience, it is impossible not to tell what is happening in the world of women’s hockey at the moment.
In Spring 2019, the world’s best hockey players made the decision to stop playing and demand better conditions. A players union has been created and its demands are clear: to allow athletes to be paid adequate for their sport.
“I hope there will be a stable national league for women that will be able to pay their players salaries throughout the year. They deserve to be able to focus only on their sport and they don’t have to work as well as have to train. I think it’s crazy to have a full-time or full-time job.” Partial plus hockey. I’m not into Secret of the Gods, but the NHL should put its shoulder on the wheel. “
Mantha might not be aware of the discussions between Bettman’s tour and the players, but she is closer to the NHL than many humans. His little brother has been skiing there since the 2015-2016 season.
“We talked about it when the women’s leagues were dissolved and we knew how much money would have to be raised for the league to be viable. She joked in his face that he could finance this.
“He was laughing a little, but I think that was probably stuck in his head. He’s the only man out of four kids with us. He saw us play in college sports and for him men and women are equal. Everyone deserves the same opportunity. I’m sure he would embark on such a project. “.
The call went out, Anthony!
Like many female hockey players, Mantha is convinced that by appearing, the women’s league will be viable and that the sport’s support base will grow. And she also believes that our living times make things easier.
“When I was little, I remember hearing the name Daniel Sauvago and other great players like her. But I didn’t see them.”
“I think that today’s players are more accessible, whether it’s through social media or television. I think it makes a big difference in young girls’ dreams. They have role models in mind.”
who knows? Maybe one day she’ll see little girl Elizabeth Mantha rule a game in the Montreal Canadiens and tell herself that she, too, can aspire to the highest levels.