Hockey Night in Abu Dhabi: Spotlight on an Emirati Hockey Queen

*updated with a documentary film made about Fatima, who is also the first Emirati female sports photographer! Against the Wind documentary

A few months ago I realized a former female student of mine played hockey - like a lot! All winter (well, winter is a relative term here in Abu Dhabi) I have been planning and meaning to go to one of her games and something always got in the way...

But tonight no! I made it to the Abu Dhabi Storm's game against a Dubai women's team. The Storm's are an all but three Emirati ladies team - and they played hard against a team made up of new players (like Fatima) and women who love the game (and they pay for their own ice time!). It was an interesting game to watch - but the best part was talking with Fatima after.

Yes, there is an ice rink in Abu Dhabi and it is well used!
The Abu Dhabi Storm were formed in 2010 and from the beginning, because of a love of hockey, Fatima has been the official team photographer. After much encouragement from her second family she laced on her skates and joined the team in May 2011 and started learning how to play hockey! Of course, now she says hockey is her life - and truly, it is... (I introduced her to the term rink rat!)

Lots of passes and shots

Abu Dhabi Storm in the white and pink!

The Dubai team scores!

Fatima is number 7 and plays centre (and the wings)

Team gathering after the final whistle

Good game ladies!
Fatima Al Ali - Emirati hockey queen!

After only two years of playing hockey Fatima is on the first line, coaches the second string men's team, has played on the men's team (only woman and only one of two Emiratis) and has learned how to referee and does it on a regular basis.

She is well supported by her family, and tonight her Mom, brothers and cousins were there to cheer her on. She said "I enjoy playing hockey and I can't imagine my life without playing.".

I taught Fatima in Introduction to Management a few years ago and she graduated in Management and Information Systems last year. Three of the ladies on the team are currently students at Zayed University - but I don't have the pleasure of teaching them.

Fatima is super serious about hockey, she has been to training camps overseas and four international tournaments (two with the men's team) and leaves this Saturday for a fifth in Hong Kong.

In a year or so hopefully there will be a women's National team - and Fatima's dream is to be the Captain and she has a plan to get there! Her goal is to be the best player on the team and always improve her skills and her game.

I hope one day I will be able to take her to a game in Canada to watch her favorite player - Alexander Ovechkin or even better, her second and third favorit players on the Vancouver Canucks!

Bravo Fatima - you break every stereotype and do it as the most natural thing in the world - I am super proud of you - and one day, when you are team captain of the National Team I will want an autographed team photo!

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