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Hockey color: Heon hopes to propel Mexico to Beijing Olympics in 2022

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William Douglas has been writing The Color of Hockey blog for nine years. Douglas joined NHL.com in March 2019 and writes about people of color in sport. Today, as part of the NHL’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, he portrays Camryn Heon, 15, a defenseman from El Paso, TX, and a member of the Mexican Women’s National Team who aims to qualify for the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

EL PASO, Texas – Camryn Heon wants to move from Kraft Hockeyville USA to the medal bar at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games for Mexico.

She is a 15-year-old defender from El Paso, Texas, and the youngest member of Mexico’s women’s national team to compete Feb. 4-20 in the Chinese capital.

“Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to compete in the Olympics,” Camryn said, “and to know that it is possible for me to play for a country that no one would have thought they had and hockey them. to represent is so amazing. “

Mexico, ranked 26th out of 42 countries by the International Ice Hockey Federation, will travel to Bytom, Poland this week for an Olympic pre-qualifying round from October 7-10. He will play in a parenthesis with the Netherlands, Poland and Turkey.

Camryn’s quest for the Olympics has been part of the hockey whirlwind that has recently whirled around the Heon House.

His father, Corey Heon, is general manager of the El Paso Rhinos junior teams that play at the El Paso County Events Center, where the Dallas Stars defeated the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 in the Kraft Hockeyville USA preseason game. 2020 Sunday.

Heon, who is Canadian, was involved in the planning of Hockeyville USA when he was preparing the North American Rhinos Hockey League and the North American Tier III Hockey League teams for their seasons.

His wife, Lori, from Chihuahua City, Mexico, commuted from Camryn to the border and stayed in Mexico for weeks so her daughter could train and play.

The family had little time to enjoy the afterglow of the Hockeyville game. Corey Heon was scheduled to fly from El Paso to Poland on Monday.

“It’s a pretty good achievement in what she’s accomplished, being a 15-year-old on the National Women’s Team,” Corey Heon said last week. “We are really excited as parents and even our organization is also super motivated. Without their support and help, it couldn’t have done it.”

Camryn said she told her parents and grandparents early on that she would someday play in the Olympics for the United States, Canada or Mexico, with Mexico being her first choice.

She started skating at age 3 and started playing organized hockey with boys at age 7 because there weren’t enough girls playing in El Paso at the time to form a team.

Once a women’s hockey program was finally established, Camryn joined the men’s team and continued to play with them.

Camryn said she didn’t know Mexico’s women’s team until 2019, when the country’s men’s national team played two exhibition games against the Rhinos in El Paso.

“I learned they had an 18-U team so I started playing with them when I was 13,” she said. “I had been going back and forth to Mexico for (national team) testing and last month I did.”

Joaquin de la Garma, president of the Mexican Ice Hockey Federation, said Camryn is the team’s second best defenseman.

“Camryn is so young, but she’s one of our best prospects,” he said. “She is an excellent skater, she skates very quickly. She plays good defensive hockey, but sometimes she [contributes] in offensive situations. She is a key player on the team. “

Mexico has been a member of the IIHF since 1985. Its ice hockey federation stepped up efforts to qualify for the Olympics nine years ago when the country’s sports minister increased funding for the women’s program, said of the Garma.

“For Mexico, the best future is women’s hockey,” he said. “Women’s hockey officially made its debut at the 1992 Olympic Games (the first tournament was played in 1998 in Nagano). We can say that it is new for other countries, so it is very competitive. For the men it’s very complicated because if you want to be in the Olympics you have to at least have some part of the team in the NHL. We don’t have any players in the NHL.

Camryn said the Mexico women’s team is a talented group made up mostly of veterans, including Claudia Tellez, a 37-year-old forward who was drafted in the eighth round by Calgary of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League in 2016 and who made his way into the reserve team.

“The level in competition in Mexico is much higher than what I was used to training with, because I train with women,” said Camryn. “I think playing at this level has improved the way I play, the way I skate and everything.”

She’s hoping her game has improved enough to help Mexico shock the hockey world by securing a spot to play in Beijing.

“People don’t expect the National Women’s Team to be ranked (26th) in the world,” Camryn said. “I want to take my team to the Olympics, represent my country in the best possible way.”


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