Posted with permission, article and pictures, courtesy of Bedrock Sports Hawaii
Story by: Nick Abramo
There’s little doubt that when Hawaii’s Moana Kekuewa meets all of her Team USA inline hockey teammates, she will get asked something like, “Was that movie about you?”
The hit Disney production “Moana” came out in 2016 about a Hawaii girl.
Kekuewa, a real-life girl, is a youth player at Kapolei Inline Hockey Arenas who was picked to play for Team USA’s junior women’s (18-and-under) team at the World Skate Roller Games, which will be held Oct. 24 through Nov. 13 in Buenos Aires and San Juan, Argentina.
That makes two KIHA players going to that international tournament. You can read about the other one here: Jordan Nahoi-Baricar Picked For Team USA Inline Hockey Team.
Kekuewa, 16, a Kapolei High School junior, played for the KIHA 14-and-under team that won the North American Roller Hockey Championships Finals in California in July.
With encouragement from two veteran KIHA players and coaches — the husband and wife team of Kimo and Kiyomi Chun — Moana’s mom Raynette filled out an application and sent a resume to Team USA, which is run by both USA Roller Sports and the Amateur Athletic Union.
“After Moana found out she made the team, when she got to the rink she got lots of congratulations from all of her friends and teammates,” Raynette said.
Kekuewa is taking this opportunity seriously, according to the mom, and preparing for it by practicing more often than she normally does as well as getting speed and conditioning training from former University of Hawaii football player Kenny Patton at Patton Sports Performance.
“He’s good,” Raynette said about Patton. “For an hour and a half twice a week, he pushes them to their limit, working on their speed, core and balance.”
Moana’s brother, Kamehameha student Royal Kekuewa — who is also a fine hockey player at KIHA — is concentrating more on soccer these days. A center midfielder, he’s getting ready for his senior soccer season for the Warriors this fall. He also plays for Hawaii Rush Soccer, which won the U-17 West Regional Championships in Idaho in June, and he also made the West Region team that competed at the national championships in June.
One place where the fictional Moana and KIHA’s real Moana cross is the ocean.
Moana Kekuewa’s whole family surfs, so when the other Team USA players undoubtedly mention the movie in some fashion, she can just say, “the ocean is a friend of mine,” just like the “Moana” character.