Updated: Oct 19, 2021
Who would think that watching films could be your stepping stone into being an icon for your nation?
Kayla Franchesca proves that everything is possible as long as you have the heart and dedication in what you’re doing.
Kayla is a 25-year-old semi-professional left-wing ice hockey player based in Australia playing in the Sydney Women’s League and was included in the New South Wales Bombers.
She was awarded “Best Player Overall” for Team Philippines in the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s Challenge Cup where they won gold.
As a tropical country, ice hockey is foreign in the Philippines. In the midst of this, Kayla has been one of the pioneers of the women’s national team as the sport gradually becomes more and more well-known within the boarders of the Philippines.
“It has developed really well and I’m hoping it gets even bigger and that’s where we’re working towards,” she stated in the 29th episode of The Globally Ballin Podcast.
Her interest sparked after watching “The Mighty Ducks,” an American sports comedy-drama film about a youth league hockey team where she was fascinated with the character Connie Moreau.
She immediately started to learn ice skating, then her uncle who came from Vancouver, initially trained her on everything related to ice hockey that he could.
At age 16, Kayla debuted in playing competitive hockey under the men’s category of Manila Ice Hockey League, the country’s first-ever league which was held in a skating rink inside SM Mall of Asia – one of the largest malls in the Philippines.
Going to Australia was initially just for work purposes and staying for good was not Kayla’s initial plan until she realized how good hockey was there and how this could have a future effect in her home country.
“It’s really developed hockey – I’ve met a lot of coaches, good players, and it’s really helping my skills,” she said in the episode with Globally Ballin.
“We learn a lot of skills definitely open for sharing...and it’s good because at the same time, we get to contribute what we learn overseas over to the Philippines,” she added.
The future of ice hockey in the Philippines is looking good in her eyes and she is positive that it will, eventually, be recognized as a professional sport.
“We have to keep women in playing the sport. It’s going to take a while but is not impossible especially with the [Philippine] government helping them.
The Philippine Ice Hockey Federation, together with the government, leads a weekend event called “Stick and Puck,” wherein they offer lower cost of gear and equipment to engage more people in playing the sport.
Kayla recently founded The Athletes Podium, a community and platform for athletes to share stories and inspire others. She was supposed to come to the Philippines for the Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia last February but was postponed due to the recent COVID-19
This piece was written by Carla Molina, a common contributor for Globally Ballin check out the link below to see all the articles by Carla Molina that revisit past episodes of the network in bring the story of the guests to article form as well.