Review: The Hockey Girls (Les de l’hoquei)

The girls team in The Hockey Girls (Las de l'hoquei)

The Hockey Girls (Les de l’hoquei) comes from Catalonia. It’s about a girls’ roller hockey team and a community of people involved with hockey. I’m very enthusiastic about this series. I thought it was excellent in every way and hope there will be a second season.

There are a multitude of characters involving girls hockey, boys hockey, coaches, parents and businessmen in The Hockey Girls (Les de l’hoquei). Wisely, the series introduces them slowly beginning with Anna (Iria del Río). There are a few minor spoilers ahead.

Iria del Río, Dèlia Brufau and Juli Fàbregas The Hockey Girls (Las de l'hoquei)
Anna, Emma and their dad Santi (Juli Fàbregas). Emma is impulsive, emotional, and rebellious most of the time.

Anna has been playing professional hockey in Lisbon when an injury sends her home. As if the injury wasn’t enough trouble, she left one of her teammates in a coma after an argument in the locker room. That problem haunts her both mentally and legally.

While she’s home, Anna gets involved with the girls’ team. She’s asked to coach the team. Her younger sister Emma (Dèlia Brufau) is on the team.

Anna’s uncle Enric (Josep Linuesa) runs the sports center. Enric hates the girls’ hockey team and doesn’t want them around. They have to fight him every inch of the way just to play. Enric is a problem in many ways through the 13 episodes of season 1.

In this very woman-powered, feminist series, Enric represents the corruption and entitlement of the patriarchy.

Marc Clotet and Iria del Río in The Hockey Girls (Las de l'hoquei)
Anna and Germán have feelings lingering from the past.

Anna replaces Germán (Marc Clotet) as the girls’ coach. He’s moving on to take over a better team for more money. Anna and Germán were together in the past, and their feelings linger. But he’s now living with Montse (Aida Oset). Montse is a lawyer. Guess who really needs a lawyer when her teammate in Lisbon recovers from her coma and wants to sue?

The writing in this series is wonderful. The writing team is women! The writing is nuanced and deep. The girls on the team are individualized and explored, but the adults and the boys hockey team are all developed and given depth and personality, too.

The Hockey Girls (Les de l’hoquei)

The team in The Hockey Girls (Las de l'hoquei)

Early in the series, Anna and each of the 7 girls on the team gets her own episode. Each girl has her own family situation, challenges, and issues. They are all different, but dedicated to the team. They are all fighters who demand equal rights as sportswomen as as women in general. These girls are role models for anyone interested in women’s sports.

Berta (Natàlia Barrientos) is serious. She wants to be a doctor. Her mother is in a mental hospital. She lives with her aunt La Terrats (Nora Navas). Terrats is a physical therapist who will help Anna with her injury, plus she’s a coach at the Sports Center and Anna’s boss there.

Emma can be a problem. She is only 16 and all over the place emotionally. She’s interested in music. When her dad and mom (Àgata Roca) go to Budapest to work, she’s left with Anna, who can’t control her very well. The sibling relationship between Emma and Anna is wonderful – one of the best things about the series.

Laila (Yasmina Drissi) is of Moroccan descent. Her dad Youssef (Hamid Krim) takes the family to Morocco each summer. Youssef runs the bar where everyone hangs out and where much of the action takes place. Laila doesn’t do well in school and wants to drop out to be an artist.

Raquel (Júlia Gibert) is the goalie. She has a problem at home that we don’t learn about in season 1. She has a big arc in her episode about being ready for sex.

Lorena (Mireia Oriol) is a free spirited lesbian. Her father is a rock musician who doesn’t live with them. She aspires to be as free as he is. She has a brother on the boys’ hockey team. Her mom, Silvia (Mireia Aixalà), is in a romance with Enric – a situation which doesn’t help anyone.

Flor (Asia Ortega) is from Argentina. She’s the power player on the team. She has a girlfriend back home. When that falls apart she looks closer to where she’s living now for a little romance.

Gina (Claudia Riera) is a genius with social media and helps the team gather fans and prove themselves to Enric. She’s a figure skater, but joins the hockey team midway through the season. She’s crazy for Lorena. Lorena is crazy for Gina, too, but Lorena isn’t very good at monogamy.

Unfortunately, IMDB isn’t complete for all the characters and the actors who played them. On the boys team, I could only match up names for Oscar (Nil Cardoner), Lluc (Guim Puig), and Putxi (Guillermo Lasheras). The girls and boys teams hung out together, had parties together, and sometimes hooked up.

Themes

So many powerful themes and storylines are brought into The Hockey Girls (Les de l’hoquei). There are stories around women’s rights, women’s agency, pregnancy, abortion, sex, family relationships, ADHD, corruption, body image, team spirit, teamwork, responsibility, sexuality, and coming of age.

I was truly impressed with the depth and development of the various themes that the writers managed to bring into the story. With so many characters, there is a lot to choose from in terms of motifs.

Every one of the actors did a good job. The younger actors and the girls on the hockey team, who had so many emotions to deal with, were natural and believable. They were good enough skaters to be believable as athletes, too.

These were kids from beautiful homes – I loved seeing where they lived. Most of them had supportive parents. The parents’ storylines added interest and drama to life in the community.

The way season 1 ended, it was a natural lead-in for a second season. I sincerely hope to see more from this team of writers, directors and actors.

Behind the Scenes

Kiko Ruiz Claverol and Patricia Font handled all the directing. The website for the series has lots of photos as well as links to Twitter and Instagram. Each of the girls has her own real life Instagram account.

Season 1 is on Netflix.

The Hockey Girls (Les de l'hoquei)  poster

Here’s a trailer dubbed in English. The actual series is in Catalan.

If you are interested in sports, women’s empowerment, or plain old good storytelling, I think you’ll enjoy this series.

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