I see that I haven’t fully done my work today at the Color of Hockey when a co-worker of mine praised me about an article, appreciated the number of black players in pro hockey and the influence they’re having, and wondered if there are any Hispanic players in the NHL.
Not only are there Hispanic players in the NHL, many are flourishing. Some have their names on the Stanley Cup. Some have played for their countries in the Winter Olympics. Some have had bumpy careers.
Like the increasing number of black pro hockey players, more Hispanic players are going to pro hockey which is a testimony to hockey’s attractiveness and to minority-oriented youth hockey programs across North America.
And hockey isn’t abnormal to Spanish-speaking nations. Spain is in at 31 in the world in men’s hockey and 26th in women’s hockey. The European nation has over 500 junior players, over 195 male players, over 200 female players and over 15 indoor ice skating rinks.
Mexico’s men’s team is 32nd in IIHF’s rankings and its female’s squad comes in at 35th in the world. The US’s neighbor to the south claims to have over 2,000 players, over 1,400 juniors, over 200 men, and over 300 girls and women. The country possesses more than 20 indoor ice skating rinks. That’s more than some American cities.
For example, Scott Gomez, Ottawa Senators center, brings a double dose of honor. He’s proud of his Mexican-Colombian heritage and just as proud of being an Alaskan native.
Defenseman Alec Martinez of the Los Angeles Kings has his name on the Stanley Cup. He received the honor when the Kings won the Cup after the 2011-12 season. A Spanish background, Martinez was born in Michigan but spent most of his childhood playing hockey in Northern California.