Olympic hockey referee suffers slash to face then returns to game

A video showing the brutal encounter on the rink has gone viral

Jade Bremner
Tuesday 08 February 2022 17:34 GMT
Olympic hockey referee gets hit in face by stick

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Louise Thomas

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Referee Cianna Lieffers was unintentionally slashed across the face with a hockey stick by player Amanda Kessel during a match at the Winter Olympics.

A video and pictures of the accident and injury, which happed during a match between the US and Canada on Monday, soon went viral.

They showed Olympic Gold Medalist and three-time national champion Amanda Kessel making a sharp turn behind Canada’s goal, with her stick raised high, where Referee Lieffers was standing on the perimeter of the rink. The stick then caught the official in the mouth.

Hockey fans praised Canadian Referee Lieffers for her commitment to the game. Despite her face pouring with blood moments earlier, after patching herself up she returned to the ice to officiate the game.

“Canada: where the players are tough but the refs are tougher,” said one Twitter user.

“Cianna Lieffers back officiating on the ice after taking a stick to the face like a champ,” said another user.

The incident marked a change of fate for the Canadian team too, who were down 2-1, then went on to win 4-2.


Ice hockey is considered a highly dangerous sport. It’s a high-speed game, and full contact is still very much part of the men’s game – and most male players choose to wear open face helmets. Full facial protection is required for players in the women’s game, but not for referees. Hits to the mouth usually come from high shots, collisions and high sticks.

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