Sjoukje Brown started her officiating career in 1987 at the Barrington Ice Arena. She officiated for Bob Updike and Steve Cohen primarily, and worked 250-300 games in each of her first three years. She was asked to work her first high school three-man game by Don Olynyk and Ken Michel in 1990.
After working as a linesman in Metro North for the 1990-91 season, Sjoukje was invited by Scott Brand to attend the USHL’s training camp, the Buc Bowl, in the fall of 1991. Sjoukje was hired to work the USHL, and became the first woman in the United States to officiate hockey at the Junior ‘A’ level of play. That year she was invited to officiate the USA Hockey Women’s/Girls’ National Championship in Duluth, MN, and in 1991 Sjoukje was also hired as a linesman for the CCHA (men’s).
In 1991-1992, Sjoukje accepted an invitation to move to Waterloo, Iowa to officiate the USHL full time. On the way to officiate a game in Sioux City, IA on October 17, 1992, Sjoukje and her officiating partner were involved in a car accident. Sjoukje broke her neck and injured her left knee in the accident, and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. After extensive physical therapy Sjoukje returned to the ice on September 24, 1993.
After returning to the ice Sjoukje officiated the 1994 IIHF World Championships, 10 pre-Olympic qualifying/exhibition games for the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the ACHA Women’s Collegiate finals (2001, 2002, 2004), the WCHA Final Five (2000-2004), the NCAA Frozen Four (2001-2004) and 12 USA Hockey National Championships.
Throughout her tenure as an official, Sjoukje has served the Illinois hockey community as an IHOA/Central District Seminar Instructor, an IHOA Board Member, IHOA Seminar Coordinator, and as an AHAI Board Member (Girls’/Women’s Chair). She continues to serve as an IHOA/Central District Instructor, IHOA/Central District Evaluator, and Central District Officiating Instructor.
Categories: Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame