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MEXICO: The first & only women’s national ice hockey team

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Daniela Castro Cárdenas (C), 19, one of the goalkeepers of the Selección femenil de México de hockey sobre hielo, and her teammates get changed in the locker room before a match at the Ice World Santa Fe ice rink in Mexico City, Mexico on November 24, 2018. The team played against the Osos in the “Midget” Hockey League, they lost 5-0. Daniela is a student in transport engineering at the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico. She grew up in Toluca, outside of the capital, and now lives in Mexico City with her grandmother. She started playing in-line hockey with her brother and her cousins, Frida and Ivana Cárdenas Castro at age 4 and ice hockey at age 10. Mónica Renteria was her coach when she initially trained to be a goalkeeper for her in-line hockey team. "For example, of my father's friends, there was one that would always say 'you should sign her up to a different sport, ballet or something that is more for girls' and my father would always say 'no!' My father always brings me to all of the training sessions, tournaments, he always brings me everywhere," she says. Founded in 2012, the Selección femenil de México de hockey sobre hielo is the first and only women’s national ice hockey team in Mexico, a country where ice rinks are expensive and rare. In the 2017 IIHF Women's World Championship Division II in Iceland, the team defied expectations; They won Group B, securing their promotion to Group A, and became the only Mexican ice hockey team to have achieved such a feat. This year, they are competing in the 2019 IIHF Women's World Championship Division II in Scotland. Having become the first Mexican team to advance to the second round of the Winter Olympics qualifiers in 2016, the now self-financed team are training for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, hoping to be the first Latin American team to compete in ice hockey. (Photo by Bénédicte Desrus)