BC Hockey honours KIJHL official Melissa Brunn as Official of the Year

KIJHL official Melissa Brunn is presented with her BC Hockey Official of the Year award by outgoing board member Steven Phipps. Photo courtesy of Melissa Brunn


KIJHL official Melissa Brunn was named the BC Hockey Official of the Year for 2023-24. During the season, Brunn, based out of the Kelowna Minor Hockey Association, officiated at the 2024 IIHF Division 1 U18 Women’s World Championship in Italy, made her Professional Women’s Hockey League officiating debut in February, officiated in her second consecutive USports Women’s Championship, and became the first female official to be assigned to a KIJHL Championship Series. 

This past season also marked her first full season as a member of the National High Performance Officiating Group and graduated from the Hockey Canada and IIHF Elite Women’s Training Camp. She also serves as a local and regional officiating coach, developer, assignor and mentor, and was the lead instructor for the 2023 BC Hockey Female Officiating Program of Excellence.

Brunn, a Kamloops native, says it’s great to be “amongst really good company with the past winners.”

“There have been lots of female representation for this award over the last eight years. It’s nice to see our female program growing and achieving that level of high performance,” she says. “I’m super happy to be among the past winners that have had incredible achievements.”

Brunn loved the opportunity to work more female hockey and would like to continue on that path, especially at the top level. Making her PWHL debut was surreal, especially traveling to Toronto to work a game.

“It was nice to have familiar faces and share that moment with them,” she says. “It was a little surreal to see a professional game develop. I felt well prepared and didn’t feel out of place. Hockey Canada’s program for female national high performance has highly improved. They have done a good job in preparing us.”

Brunn worked more junior hockey consistently this year, which resulted in her feeling more comfortable – feeling more into the game. Her performances earned her a spot to work the KIJHL Teck Cup Final, which she says was special. 

“Anytime you are in the playoffs, it’s a goal to get in the Finals,” she says. “To have my hard work pay off was really nice and going to Revelstoke was a fun place to do it. It was just like another game with some of my teammates.”

Brunn noted that she earned more respect from players and coaches from the job she did.

As for being a local and regional officiating coach, that mentorship role for Brunn has been rewarding and she has enjoyed working with other female athletes who have a passion to grow.

“It’s been great to watch,” she said.