Rochester native officiating hockey for Winter Olympics in Sochi

Created: 02/08/2014 10:26 PM WHEC.com
By: Justin Granit

If you ask Laura Johnson about traveling, she will light up with a smile.

The Rochester resident has been to China, Sweden and all over the states to officiate hockey. These days you'll find Laura at Section V games, but not over the next three weeks.

Instead she's in Sochi officiating the women's hockey tournament.

 “I'm at a loss for words. It's a dream come true. I finally reached the pinnacle of my career and it's amazing,” said Johnson.

From Texas to Minnesota, to St. Louis to Rochester, Laura Johnson has traveled the states to hone her craft as a hockey official.

“I moved up this way for better hockey,” she said.

That decision has paid off. After proving her abilities as a linesman in several international tournaments, Johnson is in Sochi officiating the women's hockey tournament. The 28-year-old received word of her Olympic dream while at a familiar venue.

“I was out a an Amerks game with friends and we couldn't tell anybody until it came out officially online, so I was cheering and I couldn't say anything, so I had to excuse myself for five minutes,” said Johnson.

The athletes in Sochi got there based on times, scores or stats. For an official, their skills aren't as apparent to naked eye. So what does it take to be a world renowned official?

“The willingness to learn and be criticized by players coaches and peers, then to take that and better yourself,” said Johnson.

The far majority of hockey players speak English, but as dedicated she is to her professional, Laura is working on her Russian to assimilate herself to the host country.

“I understand Russian,” she said.

Hopefully Laura knows how to say “It's my birthday" in Russian. She turns 29-years-old this coming Wednesday.

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