Scott Gomez is the equivalent of an Anglo-American bullfighter in Spain. There are 30 teams in the National Hockey League, each consisting of just under 30 players…That’s over 800 players in the NHL. Of those 800+ players, there exists only three that are of Latin American descent. Mr. Scott Gomez is one of those three, and the best I might add. But then again, he’s only competing with two other Latino players. Being played on ice, hockey is usually strongest in northern areas that are cold (shocking, right?), so it makes sense that few Latinos are hockey players, since the Latino culture is native to warmer climates. Needless to say, Gomez stands out as a Latino on the ice.
Gomez is of Mexican and Colombian decent. His father, Carlos, is Mexican-American, and his mother Dalia is Colombian-American. If Latinos were to pick any one person to represent them on the ice, it would be Gomez. Drafted in 1998, Gomez scored 70 goals in his rookie season and was named the rookie of the year and elected as an NHL all-star while on his way to winning the Stanley Cup finals. Not bad for your first year in the league. Since then, Gomez has been named an all-star four times, as he has consistently shown himself as one of the league’s most prominent players. In the 2002-2003 season, Gomez won his second Stanley Cup with his team, the New Jersey Devils, but his best year came in the 2004-2005 season. In that year, he scored more goals than any other player in the ECHL and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player. After seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Gomez was traded to the rival New York Rangers, where he continued to have success. After two seasons with the Rangers, the Latino goal scorer was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in 2009, where he plays currently.
Much like fellow Latino professional athlete Mark Sanchez, whom I featured in a recent blog entry, Scott Gomez is a minority in his profession. However, Gomez doesn’t have near the hope that the Jets quarterback Sanchez possesses. While Sanchez is one of few Latinos in the NFL, there is still a decent representation in the NFL, and being a more popular sport, he gets much more exposure to the public. Being one of only three Latino NHL players, Gomez and his fellow Latinos don’t have much of a voice. On top of that, hockey doesn’t have near the audience of the NFL. I hate to say it, but there’s not a lot of hope for a Latino future in hockey.