Breaking the Ice: Filipino-Canadian Sisters to Represent the Philippines in UAE Hockey Tournament


Winnipeg siblings, Hanna and Larissa Pagdato, have dreamt of playing hockey internationally since they were kids, and that dream is about to become a reality. The sisters are set to represent the Philippine national women’s hockey team in the United Arab Emirates next month.

Hanna, who is currently a goaltender for the Mount Allison University Mounties in New Brunswick, was inspired by the Canadian women’s team victory at the 2010 Winter Olympics when she was just eight years old. For her, representing the Philippines is an opportunity to connect with her heritage and make her parents and the Filipino community in Canada proud.

Larissa, a former junior hockey player and coach of the True North Foundation’s U13 girls’ team, shares the same enthusiasm. Their father, Larry Pagdato, a lifelong Winnipeg Jets fan, instilled a love for hockey in his daughters, which they carried into their adult lives.

The opportunity to join Team Philippines for the Union Tournament in September came as a surprise to Larissa, but both sisters are ready to embark on a 14-hour flight and meet their new teammates just days before the tournament begins. Because hockey is still a developing sport in the Philippines, the players have to fund their own travel expenses. However, local businesses like Triple C Pizzeria and RINK Hockey have generously offered to help cover the costs.

Larry Pagdato is hopeful that his daughters’ participation in the tournament will inspire other aspiring Filipino hockey players and strengthen the sport’s popularity within the local community.

The sisters, along with fellow Winnipeg native Jordy Wyant, a former teammate of Hanna’s, are determined to make a mark in the event taking place just outside Dubai from September 5-9. Despite the challenges, they are grateful for the support they have received and are excited to represent their country and community on the international stage.

Photos provided by: Larry Pagdato