Hockey player Zoe Haley breaks cultural and gender stigma

There is no doubt that sport has a cultural and sexual misrepresentation.

In our community, Zoe Haley is shining a light on the issue during Asian American, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month.

Haley, 14, an athlete from Osceola County, is shaking the stigma in the world of youth hockey. Haley is an Asian American with Asian and Canadian roots who is taking not only Osceola by storm, but Florida as well.

Haley plays at Lakeland for youth club teams, the Lakeland Royals and Florida Moccasins – but she hasn’t always had her mother Jessie’s blessing.

“My mom didn’t really want me to play hockey at first so she put me through everything to get by, dancing, singing, acting, anything towards a different path,” she said. declared. “My father is Canadian, so it was obvious. My mother didn’t want me to be afraid of boys either. She wanted me to know that the boys were no better than me and that I could do whatever they could.

Of Asian and Canadian descent, Zoe has the best of both worlds, so to speak. Jessie is from Taiwan and comes from an academic background. Dad Trevor comes from a sporting background in Canada.

“I come mostly from academics, that’s what Asian culture is all about. Playing sports is one thing, but being a woman within the culture and playing sports is a completely different matter,” Jessie said. “It’s just not the custom in Asian culture, especially for a woman to be deeply involved in sports.”

Trevor’s love for hockey in his native Canada made it easier for Zoe to get involved, he said, and by playing the sport, she was able to identify with her father and brother.

After being homeschooled and spending a full year of high school into a sophomore this year, she places the utmost importance in everything she does. Since taking up hockey, she keeps her earlier endeavors, piano, cello and playing high-level chess, close by. Showing that she can play like anyone else has made this empowered young woman an asset to her teams.

“Discipline has always been a part of my life, piano, cello, hockey and now chess,” Zoe said. “Just like hockey chess defense requires that level of intellect for a successful game.”

Playing defense on the rink, Zoe posed many questions to her family as she learned the game. sure of the concept until Zoe demonstrates her ability for the position. Just like in chess, defense in hockey is concise and strategic.

“Not many people understand defense in hockey,” Zoe said. “A lot of boys don’t know I’m calculating my next move behind, they just want to score. I’m all about strategy.

With Zoe wanting to do the Olympics in the future, her preparations require a lot of attention. She has several coaches who focus on her talents and criticize her habits, thus making her a star moving forward.

“Some of my coaches play down the fact that I’m a girl,” Zoe said. “I have two coaches who treat me like a guy or guys, more like a person.”

That’s what drives Zoe in hockey — not to be “one of the guys” but to start a movement where someone feels comfortable enough to play hockey in our area. While Osceola offers limited ice time, Zoe makes the most of any ice time she can get.

As for giving it her all for Zoe, she spends her extra time playing and coaching chess at Kingdom Kids Christian School.

“I am extremely grateful to be a chess coach.” Said Zoe. “(Some) of the kids have autism, seeing them participating and succeeding is such a great experience.”

Catherine J. Martinez