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According to Report, Hockey Is Having a Moment in Mexico

Two NHL teams are looking to grow the game of hockey in Mexico.

Baseball and soccer. Those are the two main sports you think of when you think of Mexico. You certainly don't think of hockey. Many cliches and stereotypes have truths to them, but it appears hockey is growing in Mexico.

According to the Mexico Ice Hockey Federation, and the Los Angeles Times, 2,690 players "participate in the sport in Mexico." 1,600 of these players are junior players. The Los Angeles Kings and the Dallas Stars are the two teams who have shown interest in growing the sport in Mexico. The Kings have partnered with a rink in a shopping mall in Mexico City, malls being where most of the ice ranks in Mexico are found. The two teams being the Kings and Stars makes sense, seeing as both teams play in areas that have a large Latino community. The Stars play in a market that is more than 40% Latino. They have also started running a Spanish-language broadcast for their games.

The Kings are making similar efforts, via the LA Times.

“I don’t see any reason for us to wait,” Kings President Luc Robitaille said. “It’s more important for us to go out of our way and to make it available. There’s enough kids we know like to play.”

As noted, there will be obstacles for most kids to choose hockey over soccer. Most kids don't have access to rinks, equipment, and instruction. When I was growing up and family or friends from Mexico would ask me to describe hockey, in my head I always described it as "soccer on skates." A reductive description to be sure, but if anyone could hybridize the sport—it would be a country whose national sport is Soccer. It will have to start with the big NHL teams if they're going to grow the sport south of the American border.

“We’re definitely going down there to grow the game,” Robitaille, the Kings president, continued, via the Times report. “That’s a no-brainer for a team like us, to help grow the game on the south side of the border.”

Hockey in Mexico. What a time to be alive.