Sara Strong is a lifelong hockey fanatic who can’t get enough of the sport in her life.
“I love hockey,” said Strong, the Olympic Women’s Hockey Linesperson. “I eat, sleep, and breath hockey. I grew up playing since I was a little kid.”
Strong’s parents put her in skates when she was two years old, and she played the game all through college, where she was captain of the Western Michigan Club Team.
She tried her hands at officiating while in college, and it looks like that decision may have been the correct one.
“I got into it because I stopped playing the game and because it was a great moneymaker in college,” Strong said.
Her first game officiating was in 2007, and since then, Strong has become one of the most accomplished officials in Michigan.
Her whistle was so official that she became the first woman to work a boys Michigan High School Athletic Association championship game. She also officiated the Women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association Final Four.
Strong is currently in China as one of eight American officials selected to the Winter Games as a Linesperson for the Women’s Hockey Tournament.
“It was pretty surreal for me,” Strong said. “It’s something I’ve been working toward for 15 years. I’ve dedicated much of my life, from training and being away from family and friends.”
We’ll be able to see her flying around the ice in her striped shirt, calling penalties, and keeping the peace. We won’t see all of the work she will be doing to prepare for each game. For instance, we won’t see the workouts, having a firm grasp of the rules, and all the time away from her family.
“Sacrifice. I have two kids, and I’m away from them a lot,” Strong said. “This is the last step I’ve been working towards. I’m excited for them to see that and show them that if you work hard, you can reach your goals.”
“Both teams raise their game when they play each other,” Strong said. “They want to beat each other so badly, and they definitely play against each other a lot harder than they do vs. other countries.”
Strong hopes she gets to officiate that Women’s Gold Medal Game, and hopefully, team U.S.A. will be playing in it.
Women’s U.S. Hockey starts Thursday (Feb. 3) as they’ll take on Finland at 8 a.m.