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

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Mónica Evangelina Renteria Peñafort (L), 31, one of the goalkeepers of the Selección femenil de México de hockey sobre hielo, and her teammates get changed after a training session over the course of a 3-day intensive training week-end at the Winter Sports Center Metepec in Metepec, State of Mexico, Mexico on March 9, 2019. Mónica lives in Campestre Churubusco neighborhood in Mexico City, with her family. She studied gastronomy and culinary art. She is now a coach to goalkeepers at different ice hockey clubs in Mexico City as well as assistant coach for the under 18 Selección femenil de México de hockey sobre hielo. She started playing in-line hockey at age 9 after watching her brother’s training sessions; She competed in her first roller hockey World Cup at age 12. “Today it’s great to be able to tell someone that you play hockey because people’s mentality, especially that of Mexicans, is much more open. (...) When I was younger, the response would be totally different, it would be ‘oh no, that’s a man’s sport.’ That’s the response I used to get and it’s the polar opposite,” 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)