The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, October 2, 2020

Where are all the Latinx players? — Interview: Miye D'Oench — Must-click links

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Where are all the Latinx people in hockey?

Did you know it’s Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month?

Of course, you didn’t. Hardly anybody does and let’s not even get into the differences between Hispanic, Latino/a, Latinx, and Spanish (I recommend you do some research on that topic. Here’s a hockey assist).

I can count on two fingers the Latinx hockey players I actually know to exist. I learned that Austin Matthews is of Mexican descent sometime last year. Before that, I knew of Meghan Huertas from the NWHL, I vaguely knew of Scott Gomez, and there was of course Luis Mendoza (not a real player).

Of course, Bill Douglass (The Color of Hockey) has it all covered. Here is a 2013 blog and the latest on Luisa Wilson. The CoH is the Monday column on NHL.com. I also had the pleasure of (virtually) meeting Al Montoya for a USA Hockey panel I hosted last month.

That said, our history as Hispanic/Latinx players, coaches, and fans is hardly discussed. I’d like to see that change, but I need help!

I really want to broaden my knowledge on this topic. Through connecting with Al and others for the USAH panel, I learned about the Americgol Latam Cup. As always, I want to know more about Hispanic/Latinx women in hockey.

So, drop me a line if you have any leads: erica@ericaLayala.com.


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This Week in Women’s Hockey

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MORE COVERAGE FOR WOMEN IN SPORTS? Good, click these links and show decision-makers that if you post it, we will read it! If you have any hot tips for great stories or voices you’d like to see in The IX, email me: erica@ericaLayala.com.

All of a sudden, North American media all want to hear from Sarah Nurse. As if she hasn’t been biracial in a racist society her whole life.

Madison Packer on returning for her sixth season, this time as a mother.

The Junior Rangers is holding the Her Game virtual summit from 10 am – 2 pm ET tomorrow. Registration is free and the lineup is pretty sweet if I do say so myself. Hope you’ll join us!

Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga reflects on her PWHPA experience last weekend.

Sami Jo Small talks to The Ice Garden and the Burn It All Down podcast about her memoir. Really love her take on “The State of WoHo” as well.

Jennifer Botterill, Jessica Campbell, and Meghan Agosta join Battle of the Blades Season Six.

From the other week, a look into Bulbul Kartanbay’s North American hockey journey.


Tweet of the Week


Five at The IX: From 2017 with Miye D’Oench

My conversation with Miye D’Oench for Think Progress from 2017 really inspired me to think differently about my hockey reporting. I got the sense that while hockey is not a sport known for having conversations about race and/or politics, perhaps women’s hockey could be an exception. Here are a few excerpts that I absolutely loved from this interview, but didn’t make the story. Photo by MichaelHetzel/NWHL

We talked about just hockey not really stepping up to have some of these difficult conversations. On top of, I’m sure there were players or teammates that likely had a different reaction than you to the 2016 Presidential Election. Before working on Kentucky on Amy McGrath’s campaign, how were you dealing with that in your hockey community?

Yeah, it’s a good question. I think I was able to compartmentalize, to a certain extent, those two conversations. One is how do we win? How do we become better teammates and support each other and, you know, win championships? That’s the ultimate goal when you’re playing hockey. And then I would compartmentalize that away from these conversations about politics and about current events in the news and all of that.

Election night was difficult for me. We had practice, and it was early, thank God. I don’t know what I would have done had it been any later in the night. But, you know, there were different sides of the political spectrum in the locker room. And, for me, hockey has often been an escape – I think for a lot of people, sports and exercise, in general, is a break from whatever else is going on in life, whether it’s personal or political, or, you know, whatever it is.

I think hockey has helped me, has forced me to be more empathetic to people who don’t agree with me politically. Because, you know, it’s not fun to not like your teammates. I think I’m very grateful to have been, you know, through teams just kind of, like, forced to get to know really, really well, people of different ideological backgrounds.

But at the same time it’s challenging, because, especially in 2016, it was such an extreme example of political divisiveness. It was and remains still something I struggle with, to try to empathize and understand where people are coming from went to me, these things are so obvious we unacceptable.

I’m assuming you’re going to ask me next if it’s different now. And I’ll say that it’s still challenging. But one thing that Kentucky allowed me to practice, more and more is approaching a conversation … with empathy. I think, Kentucky … was just more practice. I just got to practice over and over talking to people. And that was probably my biggest takeaway was that I got there as the months went on.

Has it been harder for you to turn off this part of your personality and how you identify having worked on a political campaign?

Um, yeah, I think … it’s been much harder to turn off to a certain extent, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In the locker room itself, it’s been just a crazy couple of weeks, you know, just basically focused on trying to get back in shape.

So I wouldn’t say that there’s a huge difference between how my interactions have been now versus before the campaign. But I don’t know.

How do you personally identify?

I’m half Japanese. My mom is a third-generation Japanese American. So that would make me a fourth-generation Japanese American, my brother and I. And my dad is you know, white. Was.

It’s, I would say, a big part of my identity. There are a lot of things that I am really proud of in our family and a lot of our history directly – for better or worse – directly relates to that. And actually, my brother (Robin) and I, we’re writing a movie script about Japanese internment. Both my grandparents were interned.

That’s been a really interesting journey, an amazing journey. Sad, obviously. I am very proud to be Hapa, half. And I’m proud of my dad’s family’s history and my mom’s family history, and it all is important to me.

What was the term, hapa, you used? I’m not familiar.

Hapa is a Hawaiian term, actually. It means basically mixed. So yeah, it’s often referred refers to, because it’s Hawaiian, to Asian mixed ethnicity. But Barack Obama has referred to himself as hapa before because he grew up in Hawaii, and is mixed.

I do want to go back to this script that you and your brother are writing. When you told me your ethnicity, I was very curious to get your take on, as you’ve been researching this in the climate that we see ourselves in now, what has that been like?

I’m very struck by in considering the current political climate, how acutely aware, these authors were that this, that their reason for writing for putting in so much work to write these works was because they were really aware that because it happened once does not mean that it won’t happen again. And the importance of remembering and studying and talking about that history, and that chapter of American shortcomings.

It’s been really kind of scary and sad to be reading about this. These authors were just so acutely aware of their purpose in writing. And I think we haven’t lived up to teaching my generation about what were the causes. You know, not just what happened, and the fact that it was shameful and unjust, but why it happened, and what were the factors that caused our leaders some of our most revered leaders to make this decision? What made it seem reasonable at the time? Those things I don’t think are talked about enough.

It was based on a lot of fear-mongering and lies, false reports and, and all of that. But it was, it was actually an understandable thing. You can emotionally understand that when people are overwhelmed with fear, they act irrationally. But that isn’t talked about enough. And it’s what is exactly what’s happening today. And so it’s been very instructive to be researching this project in this moment.

What does your name Miye mean?

Miye means beautiful blessing in Japanese. And my mom knew somebody or something (laughs) with that name. It’s not particularly common in Japan, but it is, you know, somewhat common. And she just liked the way it sounded.


Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren PGA.com
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Erica L. Ayala