By Bob San

Participating in the state tournament is the dream of every Minnesota hockey player. Maple Grove High graduate Tippy Hill has the distinction of participating in the state hockey tournament as a player and as a referee.

Hill played varsity hockey for the Maple Grove Crimson and was on the 2015 team that earned the program’s first state tournament. Five years, later, Hill returned to the Xcel Energy Center ice, this time as a referee in the 2020 state tournament semifinal game between Minnetonka and Andover.

After high school, Hill attended and played hockey at Hamline University. She started officiating hockey in college

“I was 19 years old when I started and I started because my dad said I would be good at it,” said Hill. “I also thought it’d be a fun experience to be able to officiate with him and learn from the best. Even though now we joke that I have become a better official and sometimes I teach him new things.”

Tippy is one of three Hill family members to work as hockey referees. Dad Jason and brother Ty also are referees.

At first, Hill started officiating at the youth and high school level without much training. But once she got into the college level and higher USA hockey, Hill realized she needed a strong core, lower body and started running for cardio.

“You should be all around physically fit to improve your performance on the ice,” Hill said.

Hill originally started officiating because it was the best job she could get while in college.

“It paid the best and I could make my own schedule as well as it kept me involved in the game I love,” she said.

In her third winter as an official it took on a whole new meaning as to why Hill referees.

“I officiate because I want to be a role model for the little girls and women I see in the stands every game who think they can’t do it,” Hill said. “I want to create a path for young females to officiate hockey at high levels. I officiate for the girl who looks up to me and says she wants to be like me one day and officiate hockey.”

This winter Hill has referees games in USA hockey, girls’ high school, elite league, NIT and state tournament and regular season, NAPHL boys’ Tier 1 and NCAA women’s D3.

Hill loves officiating and aspires to referee at a higher level.

“Every time I step on the ice I strive to become a better official so I can officiate at higher levels,” she said. “This summer I hope to attend the Women’s Elite camp where I will try out for my IIHF certification (international official). My ultimate goal is to officiate at the International level for the next couple of years and then attend the 2026 Winter Olympics.”

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