Two years ago, a group of 16 hockey players converged in Boston with a goal to build a team and prepare for an inaugural special series.
The group was a rag-tag collection of professional players, club team hopefuls, and beer leaguers. The common thread is they were all transgender.
On this week’s edition of the Outsports podcast Trans Sporter Room, goaltender and out trans man Mason LeFebvre said entering the locker room of Team Trans was an electric and emotional experience.
“Even though we didn’t really know each other, there was really good camaraderie,” he said. “It felt like playing with family. It was amazing.”
On the weekend of the tournament, Team Trans met a team representing Boston Pride Hockey. Though Team Trans lost both contests, the weekend was a warm win for this pioneering team, and for inclusion.
“Everybody else left and I was sitting in the rink still, and I just sat down and was crying in the lobby.” LeFebvre said. “It was such an emotional experience. It was powerful.”
LeFebvre and teammate Avery Cordingly, both of whom live in the hockey hotbed Madison, Wisc., are planning a comeback for Team Trans. They’ll play against a Madison Gay Hockey Association select squad on Nov. 20-21.
Cordingly also talked about their experiences and journey on the Trans Sporter Room.
“I’ve played with a number of trans folks here in Madison, but I’ve never been a locker room with all trans folks,” said Cordingly, who missed the inaugural 2019 season due to injury. “Mason’s going to have to force me to eat that morning, because I’m going to be very nervous. It’s not going to break until I do the first shift.”
A captain of their club hockey team at Macalester College in Minnesota prior to transition, Cordingley, who plays center for Team Trans, sees hockey as an avenue to express their non-binary identity and, at the same time, not think about it.
“On the ice you have so much gear that it feels like armor,” they said. “No one is looking too closely because what are they going to see?
“I don’t compartmentalize it as much, and what helped with that is finding a team that accepts me for me.”
Both players also discussed the recently updated trans and non-binary participation policy put forth by the Premier Hockey Federation, formerly known as the National Women’s Hockey League. The policy institutes pathway for greater participation, including the possibility for transmasculine players in what is seen from those outside the league’s offices as a women’s league.
“I think is a good first step but I’m curious about some of the wording,” LeFebvre said. “They stated exemptions for hormone usage so theoretically I could play in the league if I got an exemption, but they don’t really specify what the requirements for exemption are. They could write the policy and then never grant an exemption even if people want one and they should get one.”
It was be interesting to see it go into play when the first player steps up and say they want to play and goes to tryout to play and is a transmasculine individual,” Cordingley said. I will be interested in seeing what the league does.”
Avery Cordingley and Mason LeFebvre had a lot to say about hockey, their journeys and the upcoming series. They are also Star Wars superfans who have a difference of opinion over the debate surrounding R2D2 vs. BB8.
Check out the complete interview in this week’s edition of The Trans Sporter Room. Check it out on Megaphone, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple podcasts, and many other platforms for Outsports podcasts as well.