(NEWS CENTER) — Before she hit her teenage years, Jess Leclerc had a whistle in her hand.
"You could do one game for ten dollars," Leclerc says. "When I was 12, that was some good money."
Her dad officiated ice hockey, and Leclerc followed in his footsteps. When she wasn't playing on the boys team at Cony High School or hitting the ice at Alfond Arena in a Maine Black Bears uniform, she was decked out in stripes and keeping a careful eye on the game.
"In college it was my job. That was my part time job, so I was able to go to school and play hockey," says Leclerc, who was skating hard, and setting her sights higher and higher.
"I was fortunate to get licensed as an international linesman and got the opportunity to work a couple of world championships over the past few years," Leclerc says. "I just kid of worked my way up from there."
She worked her way all the way up to the top women's competition in the world. Leclerc is the only female linesman and one of only four women from the U.S. picked to officiate women's ice hockey at the 2018 Olympic winter games.
"I like to fly under the radar, that's why I'm an ice hockey official," says Leclerc. "I try not to get involved, but at the same time, I think it's important for the girls here in the state of Maine to have role models and know that all your hard work and dedication can pay off."
Leclerc won't stop pushing herself forward. She's recently dabbled in Division III men's college hockey officiating, helping to smooth the ice for other women who want to pursue that path.
"It's not something that there's many of use around," Leclerc says. "So it's really important to just keep chipping away at that glass ceiling and see where we can go."