When it comes to a love for sports, Mexico has it bad. Throughout the World Cup season, Mexico’s dedicated fan base blew up platforms like Twitter and Instagram while playing against Germany and South Korea and I’m pretty sure the heartache that came with their Brazil loss created a crack in the universe. Ya, so to reiterate, when Mexico shows love for their teams they go hard. Or, at least, when it comes to their male sports teams.
As is true for most of the female sports teams across the globe, Mexico’s Women’s Ice Hockey League hasn’t had much love. Not until recently anyway.
The Mexican Women’s Ice Hockey League was founded in 2014 after one of its members was denied the opportunity to play in a male league.
Macarena Cruz has attempted to enroll in a league but was rejected because of its lack of female players. Determined to find a team to play with, Cruz rallied a group of women and quickly founded Mexico’s first National Women’s Ice Hockey Team. In the years after their founding, the team beat out the Men’s National Team in an informal competition and managed to advance further than any other Winter Olympics Mexican women’s sports team. Last year, in 2017, they took home first prize at the Women’s Ice Hockey World Championship in Iceland.
The women are now part of Mexico’s highest-ranked national female sports organizations. All this despite the fact that many of the women learned to skate on ice fairly recently.
____ FRIDA CASTRO ____ Age – 20 – Position Delantera – Hometown CDMX ____ I love saying that I am Mexican and that I play ice hockey because many people are surprised that Mexico has a national team. I love listening to our national anthem and singing it at the top of our lungs. I love that other countries have a low expectation of us when playing, but we show them what we are capable of. I would love to continue our voice being heard in our country, learning what we have achieved, to inspire them, to show that in women's hockey we are bringing the Mexico name to another level. A higher level. Mexico is advancing, and we’re pushing it forward.
Before being rallied together to play hockey by Cruz, many of the women were only inline skaters. Now they zip across the ice like pros. Still, despite proving themselves to be as equally good, if not better, than Mexico’s male hockey team the women fund their own ice rink time and are working together to finance their efforts to get to the 2022 Olympics.
Part of that push comes from a female photographer named Elena Parasco who created a limited-edition trading card series for the team.
____ CLAUDIA TELLEZ ____ Age 33 – Position Delantera – Hometown Guadalajara ____ The most badass thing I’ve done was I left my job, sold my motorcycle and my car to be able to afford to join my team, fund our trips and go to the tryouts for the Canadian Hockey League (CWHL). I went twice and played against Canadians, Russians, Japanese and Americans. I earned a reserve spot. I hope one day to go to the Olympics and later become a coach. To give Mexico my experience, push women's Ice Hockey, and work with kids, who represent the future of this country.
Called “Trade Your Hero for Mine,” the 500 cards cost $65 each and tell the story of each of the team’s players. The phrase “Se una chingona” (“Be a badass”) is written atop each of the cards and features pictures of each player. It’s a pretty radical idea when you consider the traditionally male-bent trading cards you and your brother might have collected when you were younger. In a post to Parasco’s Instagram page which summarized the importance of the team’s impact, the founder of the team’s trading card project wrote, “the most important lesson learned from this [project] you can excel past expectations in anything you put your mind to. Even in the toughest sport out there. You can, and will, go forward. And you too, can become a national hero. Because hero has no gender. SÍ. SE. PUEDE.”