With the NHL expanding in diversity, Asian-American and Pacific Islander players like Jason Robertson, Matt Dumba, and Nick Suzuki to name a few, are making their mark and growing the game.
This has caused a ripple effect and we are seeing this diversity among up-and-coming female ice hockey players as well.
In Southern California, the 16uAAA LA Lions are a team of 17 teenagers, with 8 girls identifying as AAPI on the roster, including the captain.
Alicia Gomez, who wears the C for this season, shared how it feels to represent the AAPI community through hockey.
“There’s not a lot of Asians in hockey in general, and so it’s really cool getting to be one…I think it’s really cool to see so many of my peers also support this community too”
The Professional Women’s Hockey League just held its inaugural draft this summer which marks an important milestone for women’s hockey.
Lions player Willow Roberts researched the players drafted and was disappointed by the lack of Asian players on the rosters.
Roberts commented, “It’s disappointing to sometimes look up at the highest level of hockey [for females] and your idols…and none of them share the same culture or look like you.”
While hockey in California is quite diverse, in other parts of the country the game is still growing for AAPI players.
For Lions player Harlie Schopp, originally hailing from Chicago, this team has a special bond.
Schopp says, “When I came here, this was my first team where I had another Asian person on the team…that made me feel connected to them because I wasn’t so alone.”
As more minority groups are finding their way into ice hockey, these girls hope to inspire other girls who look like them to join the game.
The LA Lions are part of the Pacific Girls Hockey League & the National Girls Hockey League. They practice in El Segundo, California, and travel across the country to play.
If you want to learn more about girls and women’s hockey visit https://www.usahockey.com/girlshockey
@lalionshockey | @lalionshockey16uaaa