Category: Asia (page 1 of 11)

Australia to play three-game ice hockey series with hosts at New Zealand Winter Games

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Ice Hockey Australia have confirmed they will take on the host nation in a three-game series at the New Zealand Winter Games in Queenstown.

The governing body for the sport in Australia announced their men’s team will play the hosts in what has been dubbed the “Trans Tasman Challenge”.

The first match-up between the two sides is scheduled to take place on September 7, with the second match due to be held the following day.

The series will then conclude with the last game on September 9.

Ice hockey is one of seven sports on the programme at the New Zealand Winter Games, which run from August 25 to September 10.

Events in Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, freeskiing, snowboarding, curling and freeride will also be held.

Australian coach Brad Vigon said the clashes with New Zealand would be ideal preparation for the 2018 World Championships.

“We are so excited to be a part of this series, as we know this greatly benefits both countries and adds more history to this fierce rivalry,” said Vigon.

“It gives us coaching staff a chance to have a good look at some of the young and new players that are competing hard for spots on next year’s World Championship team.

“IHA is thrilled to be a part of this, and we believe the timing is perfect as both nations prepare for their 2018 assault on the World Championships.

“We know these Games will be competitive, but also trust they will be played with great respect for each other.

“The Mighty Roos versus the Ice Blacks promises to be a great ice hockey showcase, and it will be game on come September in Queenstown.”

Former Canadian junior has sights set on representing New Zealand

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By Brayden Lindsay – The Timaru Herald

Since moving to New Zealand in March, 10-year-old Callum Whiteway has set himself one simple goal – to make the Ice Blacks, New Zealand’s national ice hockey team.

It might be some way off due to his age, but he’s heading in the right direction after earning a spot in the Canterbury under-14 team, which is playing in the national championships in Queenstown this weekend.

Callum said the desire to represent New Zealand was a natural one.

“I am living over here now, so I want to play for New Zealand.”

He grew up in Canada and was signed up by his parents to take part in skating because that was the thing to do in Rosseau, Ontario and all the kids at Humphrey Public School were doing it.

Callum then gave ice hockey a crack and it’s gone from there.

Since he started playing nearly three years ago, Callum has won numerous titles with his team.

The Gleniti School pupil is excited at the challenge in front of him, with the little Red Devils.

“I’m looking forward to playing against a whole lot of different players from across New Zealand.”

With limited options for ice hockey in South Canterbury, Callum spends numerous hours with his family heading to Queenstown, Christchurch, Dunedin and other places for training camps and competitions, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love the sport. I love how competitive it can be.”

I’ve made some really good friends from it.

He’s one of the youngest players in his Canterbury team and is hoping to put in a good showing at the tournament, so he can put his name in the hat for an appearance for New Zealand’s junior side in years to come.

“I want to make the junior New Zealand team.”

He hopes to one day have the privilege of representing NZ in a Winter Olympics but also wants to head to Japan for the International Ice Hockey Federation Friendship games as part of a New Zealand team.

Playing in a defensive role has helped him become good mates with the goalkeepers.

“I don’t know what it is but he gets on really well with both the goalies,” his mum, Julie Whiteway, said.

Since arriving in New Zealand, Callum has also taken up field hockey, albeit with its challenges.

“I am left handed in ice hockey but in normal hockey you can’t use both sides of your stick, so I have to play right handed.”

It’s something he enjoys.

“I think it’s helping my ice hockey skills.”

He has had some of his friends want to try his ice hockey gear on when around at his house and he’s hoping some more people from Timaru give the sport a go, while his sister has become ‘his goalie’ so he can practise shooting at home.

Julie is incredibly proud of what her son has achieved since taking to ice hockey.

Chinese Hockey Expanding at an Astonishing Rate

By Geoff Nichols – The Hockey Writers

What is going on in China? Thankfully, this will not be a politically-charged piece but rather an attempt to figure out everything the Chinese Ice Hockey Association and the people behind Kunlun Red Star are doing to ramp up the level of hockey in China and the strength of China’s men’s and women’s national teams. There is a lot going on…maybe?

It all started prior to the 2016-17 season with the aforementioned Kunlun Red Star joining the Kontinental Hockey League. The plan was to sign Chinese players or ethnic Chinese from superior hockey nations who would then become naturalized citizens.

This is not a new plan for nations that find themselves lower on the IIHF World Rankings than they would like, but it is likely the most ambitious as Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in a little over four years and the Chinese expect to medal in at least women’s hockey. Currently, Kunlun Red Star has only two players on their roster who have Chinese citizenship: Zach Yuen and Rudi Ying.

China already had a team in an international league with the China Dragon competing in Asia League Ice Hockey, a team comprised mostly of members of the men’s national team with a few imports sprinkled in. “Had” is the key word as that team folded this offseason. That would seem like a step back until you realize the team perennially finished in last place in the standings with the low point being 2013-14 with regulation losses in all 42 games and a goal differential of minus-282.

Expanding the Men’s Program to Fix the Past

China will now see its number of professional men’s teams jump to a total of three. In addition to Kunlun Red Star, in 2017-18 there will be two Chinese teams in the Vysshaya Hokkeinaya Liga (VHL), also known as the Supreme Hockey League in English. There will be a Kunlun-branded team in Harbin, one of the long-time Chinese hockey hotbeds, called KRS Heilongjiang as well as Tsen Tou Jilin. KRS Heilongjiang will serve as Kunlun Red Star’s VHL affiliate but Vladimir Krechin, GM of Kunlun Red Star has stated that the club will work with Tsen Tou Jilin as well.

In the Russian Ice Hockey Federation’s announcement of KRS Heilongjiang joining the VHL, it was reported that 15 Chinese players were at the event announcing the team and those players would make up the core of the KRS Heilongjiang roster.

If a mostly-Chinese team could not climb out of the cellar of ALIH, I do not see how having two Chinese teams in a league with a higher overall level of play, like the VHL, could possibly lead to better results. Their only hope would seem to be splitting the members of the Chinese national team between the two VHL clubs and bring in a larger number of imports to help not only the clubs’ league standings but with the coaching and skill development of Chinese players.

Currently, KRS Heilongjiang has 38 players on their roster, according to EliteProspects.com. Tsen Tou Jilin has zero publicly confirmed signings.

Looking West for Women’s Hockey

Perhaps the move made by the KRS group that received the most attention was the announcement that the newly formed Kunlun Red Star women’s team would join the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. The team will play in China and will employ that earlier idea of using foreign players to help coach Chinese players or be an “ambassador” for the sport.

Because the team will be based in China, the team will travel to North America multiple times to play their away games against the league’s Canada and United States based teams. Now recent developments make it look as though they may not need to leave China for some of their away games.

Chinese news outlets, and later the CWHL itself in a now-deleted tweet, announced a second Chinese team would be joining the CWHL. Not much else has come out in the Chinese or North American press about the potential second team and the CWHL has been silent on their end. Michelle Jay of The Ice Garden has put together a thorough timeline of events for the whole CWHL-China situation.

Globalization to Grow Domestically

It seems that the Chinese Ice Hockey Federation and the KRS execs are committed to placing their teams in leagues where they feel the team will have the best chance to grow the level of Chinese hockey ahead of the 2022 Beijing Games. They passed over closer women’s leagues in Russia and Europe to place a team, or two, in the CWHL and it appears as though the same approach has been taken with regard to youth development.

The relationship with the Russian Ice Hockey Federation will continue with men’s U20 team battling with teams across Russia and Eastern Europe in the Molodezhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga (MHL), also known by the creative name of Junior Hockey League.

The women’s junior team, however, will be completely based in North America. The New England Women’s Junior Hockey League recently rebranded to become the Eastern Women’s Hockey Conference and announced the league’s lineup, which will feature Kunlun Red Star Junior. The release also states that all teams in the EWHC will be based on the eastern seaboard of Canada and the US. Kunlun initially announced plans for the team to join the Junior Women’s Hockey League, but those plans have obviously changed.

The same press release said that Kunlun Red Star planned to enter a U18 men’s team in a North American league called the “Northwest Hockey League,” but no information about such a team is readily available. If that team comes to fruition, any North American ethnic Chinese players on it, or the women’s team in the EWHC, would need to play two years in China between now and the 2022 Olympics to meet IIHF requirements for naturalized citizens if they wish to represent China.

Korean-American hockey player enjoying ‘incredible ride’ with S. Korean women’s team

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By Yoo Jee-ho – Yonhap News Agency

Korean-American hockey player Grace Lee has come a long way — both literally and figuratively — to join the South Korean women’s national team, just in time for next year’s Winter Olympics on home ice.

The 17-year-old native of Boulder, Colorado, holds dual Korean and American citizenship, which allows her to play for the country of her parents’ birth. She played her first game for South Korea in a friendly against Sweden on Friday at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, 230 kilometers east of Seoul.

It’s the same venue that will host hockey action at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, and Lee said she can’t wait to be a part of the experience as South Korea makes its Olympic debut on home ice.

And just making the national team here was two years in the making.

In South Korea’s 3-0 loss, Lee played center on the top line, flanked by two of South Korea’s most skilled forwards — captain Park Jong-ah and Kim Hee-won. Lee showed flashes of skill and speed that made her a coveted player when head coach Sarah Murray saw her last year.

But it was actually in 2015 that Lee wanted to approach Murray about playing for South Korea. Lee’s school, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota, hosted the South Korean national team for friendlies in 2015. But Lee wasn’t available for action because she was sidelined with a concussion.

South Korea faced Shattuck-St. Mary’s, which also happens to be Murray’s alma mater, in 2016 again. Lee was able to play, and it was Murray who sought out Lee after a game.

“Sarah approached me, and she just asked if I had dual citizenship and if I was interested at all,” Lee told Yonhap News Agency after Friday’s game. “As soon as she said that, I was just, ‘Go for it.’ I got my transfer card from USA Hockey to (the Korea Ice Hockey Association). And then I flew over here a couple of weeks ago.”

Lee said she has enjoyed her time in South Korea so far, thanks in large part to “really supportive” teammates.

“It’s just been an incredible ride,” she said. “It’s just amazing getting to play for South Korea, especially with the teammates that I have.”

Lee isn’t here just to enjoy the ride. Murray threw the teenager right into the fire against Sweden, putting her on the first line alongside Park and Kim for some spark on offense and speed on defense.

Lee has already proven her worth in the United States. Lee, who started skating at age seven, scored 29 goals and picked up 28 assists in 56 games for Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the 2015-2016 season.

Murray said she wanted a fast line that could shut down the other team’s top unit and said she was pleased with her first line’s effort.

Lee said it has become “pretty easy to play with” Park and Kim because the three can complement one another.

“I think what I can do best is I can control the puck a lot,” Lee said. “Jong-ah and Hee-won are two really aggressive players. I am able to kind of slow the game down. We have a lot of skills in that sense because we’ll be able to do a lot with the puck.”

Lee allowed herself to look ahead to PyeongChang 2018 and mused on just how much competing there will mean to her.

“I have a lot of family (in South Korea), especially my grandparents here,” she said. “It’s incredible just to be able to come here and show them what I can do. We’ll represent the team the best we can.”

After PyeongChang, an Ivy League career awaits Lee. She received multiple offers from NCAA Division I schools, and she has elected to play for Yale starting in the fall of 2018.

Ice hockey squad raring to go

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By The Star Online

The Malaysian ice hockey team will be playing their biggest home ground game for the first time, representing the country at the KL SEA Games’ inaugural winter sports this August at the Malaysia National Ice Skating Stadium in Empire City Damansara.

Although the team has been playing tournaments overseas including the Asian Winter Games, they never had the opportunity to play with the home crowd until now. While the venue was previously a challenge, it has been overcome with the new Olympic-sized ice rink.

“Before, we would practise in a smaller ice rink which affects dynamics,” said the team’s forward Aqfar Naeem Abulais. A team is typically made up of six members including the goalie for a full-fledged ice hockey game. With smaller-scaled rinks, the number of members gets lower accordingly.

National team goalkeeper, Tengku Muhammad Azlly hopes the KL SEA Games will help raise awareness for the sport.

 “Many are still unaware that Malaysia has an ice hockey team although it has been around for more than 10 years,” he said.

Ice hockey is a fast-paced contact sport employing tactical moves while maintaining balance and game sense.

“You need the ability to multitask and you need to master skating. Then, combine that with puck handling and communicating with your teammates while on ice,” Azlly said.

Having made great strides and proven their skills over the years, they are now less than a month away from competing at one of their biggest sporting events on home soil.

“Representing the country is a dream come true. After years of playing overseas, playing at home is going to be exciting,” said Moi Jia Yung, who plays defence.

Leading up to it, the team has been undertaking intense training, practising three times every weekday. Having to balance between school, work and training, the team needs all the energy and help they can get.

Besides active support from the Youth and Sports Ministry, and National Sports Council, the National Sports Institute has been helping the team prepare through sports science in three areas.

“Firstly, it is conditioning through gym sessions. Secondly, we look into nutrition; and thirdly, it is on psychology. You need to be strong not just physically, but mentally as well,” said team manager and SEA Games programme director Hisham Yahaya.

While the outcome is hard to predict, the team is giving no less than their best to place Malaysia on the map for ice hockey.

Our national ice hockey team will be playing against Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Be sure to show them support this Aug 20 to 24 at the Malaysia National Ice Skating Stadium. Admission is free.

S. Korea suffers 2nd straight loss to Sweden in women’s hockey friendly

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By Yoo Jee-ho – Yonhap News

South Korea suffered a second straight loss to Sweden in their women’s hockey friendly game here on Saturday.

World No. 5 Sweden defeated the 22nd-ranked South Korea 4-1 at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, some 230 kilometers east of Seoul.

In their first showdown on Friday, Sweden blanked South Korea 3-0 while outshooting their opponent 40-13.

With South Korea on the brink of getting shut out again, captain Park Jong-ah got her team’s lone goal at 15:38.

South Korea hosted Sweden for two games here in preparation for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics next February. Gangneung Hockey Centre will also host hockey games during the Olympics.

Sweden once again came out firing from the first period, and South Korean goalie Shin So-jung again had to battle to keep her team in the game. Shin, named the top South Korean player of the game on Friday, frustrated one Swedish shooter after another with an array of saves. But it was a flukey shot that solved Shin late in the first.

At 16:26, Sabina Kuller received a pass from Sara Hjalmarsson to the right of Shin just outside the crease, and flipped the puck on a backhand over Shin’s shoulders to put Sweden ahead 1-0.

Shots were 19-7 for Sweden after the opening 20 minutes. The Swedes consistently found open teammates thanks to a combination of their sharp passing and South Koreans’ poor defensive coverage. For the second straight game, they were quicker to loose pucks and used their considerable physical edge to win battles in the corners.

Sweden doubled its lead just 2:37 into the second period, as Hanna Olsson scored from close range after taking a feed from Erica Uden-Johansson. With Olsson left alone at the top of the crease, South Korean defenseman Cho Mi-hwan stood watching the play unfold and failed to keep the Swedish forward in check.

Sweden enjoyed some extended shifts in the offensive zone during the period, cycling the puck down low and buzzing around the South Korea net for minutes on end. That left South Korean players gassed, and when they did secure the puck they had little left in their tanks to go on counterattacks and instead settled on clearing the puck out of their own zone and getting a line change.

Shin had to bail out her teammates on several occasions in the second period, most notably when she denied Rebecca Stenberg on a one-on-one chance with 1:42 left following yet another defensive miscue.

South Korea managed just two shots on the Swedish goalie Louisa Berndtsson in the middle frame, while giving up 20 on the other end.

Shin stopped Lisa Johannson near the top of the crease about four minutes into the third period to keep it a two-goal game. But Sweden extended its lead to 3-0 at the 11:10 mark, as Maja Nylen-Persson’s point shot traveled through the screen and ended up in the back of the net.

Annie Svedin made it 4-0 Sweden at 15:29 with a slap shot from just outside the right faceoff circle, after Sabina Kuller won the draw cleanly.

But just nine seconds later, Park Jong-ah gave home fans something to cheer about. After Sweden won the faceoff at center ice, Johanna Fallman stumbled and fell to the ice while skating back into her own zone. Park pounced on the loose puck and skated in on Berndtsson, before snapping a shot past the goalie.

South Korea head coach Sarah Murray said she was pleased with the way her players started the game, but she wanted to see more “consistency” from them.

“We need to maintain our momentum,” she said. “When things don’t go our way, we need to make sure that we maintain our consistency and don’t dip up and down.”

Park, the goal scorer, said she was elated to get the team on the board, because scoring against the world No. 5 had been one of South Korea’s collective objectives.

“I couldn’t have scored that goal on my own,” Park said. “I think we all saw some hope that if we try hard, we’ll have our chance to shine.”

South Korea and Sweden will face each other again in Group B during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, where they’ll also play Switzerland (No. 6) and Japan (No. 9) in the preliminary stage.

South Korea will later set up camps in France and the United States, and face Switzerland, France (No. 13) and top-division U.S. college teams.

For more tune-up games, South Korea will also compete in a four-nation tournament in Hungary in November and have more training in New York and Minnesota in December.

S. Korea women’s hockey coach pleased with effort in friendly loss to Sweden

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By Yoo Jee-ho – Yonhap News

South Korea may have lost to Sweden 3-0 in a women’s hockey friendly game Friday, but coach Sarah Murray still saw enough that pleased her.

Sweden, ranked fifth in the world, outshot the 22nd-ranked South Korea 40-13 at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, some 230 kilometers east of Seoul, in the first of their two friendly games. But Murray said her players still put in solid effort, despite the relative lack of preparation.

“There were opportunities where we showed we could really skate with them,” Murray said. “We could match their speed. We had some success in the offensive zone. It wasn’t like we didn’t generate any offense at all. When we were in the offensive zone, good things happened.”

Murray also praised South Korea’s forechecking in the neutral zone and the offensive zone. On the other hand, defense will need some shoring up to do. Two of the three goals were direct results of poor coverage.

“We need to improve our defensive zone (play),” she said. “I think we need to continue to get stronger physically. When we play against bigger teams, it’s hard to battle in corners when we need to match strength for strength.”

Murray separated two of her best forwards, Park Jong-ah and Han Soo-jin, for this game, after they enjoyed much success on the same line at the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship Division II Group A tournament in April.

Murray said the decision was to ensure more depth up and down the lineup.

“We tried to put together a really fast line to shut down the other team’s first line. We thought they did pretty well,” Murray said of Park and her two linemates, Kim Hee-won and Grace Lee. “We tried to make next lines even and then we have a little bit more depth.”

The two nations will go at it for a second time at 3 p.m. Saturday at the same venue.

PH ice hockey team targets gold in SEA Games

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By Dennis Gasgonia – ABS-CBN News

MANILA – The Philippines has a national ice hockey team and it’s aiming for the gold in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in August.

French-Filipino Francois Gautier, general manager of Hockey Philippines, said they will be holding the Philippine Ice Hockey Tournament starting Wednesday to help prepare the team for the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Gautier said they will be tested against hockey teams from Korea, Taipei and Singapore. Some of these clubs are expected to field professional players.

“These teams that are coming are a lot stronger than the teams that we’re competing against in the SEA Games,” Gautier noted.

According to Gautier, Thailand is the heavy favorite in the biennial games, but is expected to face rough sailing due to a complaint it received in the Sapporo event.

Gautier noted that the Thai team brought five Swedish players in that event and if those players won’t be eligible for SEA Games, then the Philippines will come in as the favorites.

“I’m not gonna guarantee a gold, but that’s what we’re going for. We’re not going to settle for anything less,” he said.

It will be the first time that the Philippines is fielding an ice hockey team to compete at the SEA Games.

“The goal is to prepare the team for SEA Games. What better preparation than to play them against some really tough competition?” Gautier said at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) forum at Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City.

The Philippine team recently won bronze in the 2017 Winter Asian Games in Sapporo, Japan last February. Its best win was a rousing victory over Qatar, 14-2.

Peterborough player Mike Swift finds hockey success in South Korea

Mike Swift

By Mike Davies – Peterborough Examiner  

Mike Swift never quite reached his NHL dream but he’s making his mark in the hockey world in other ways.

Next year he’ll be on the ice with many of the world’s best at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and 2018 IIHF World Hockey Championships in Denmark.

But the Peterborough native will not be wearing a Team Canada jersey – he’ll represent South Korea. He’ll be joined by Bryan Young, his teammate with High 1 of the Asian Hockey League. Young is an Ennismore native and former Peterborough Pete.

Swift, 30, scored the winning goal in a shootout against Ukraine that clinched second place for South Korea at the 2017 IIHF Division IA World Championship, earning a promotion to the top division next year against world powerhouses like Canada, the U.S., Russia, Sweden and Finland.

Swift moved to Korea in 2011, a year after Young, where the money is actually better for top players than in Europe and North American minor leagues with top players reported to receive upwards of $200,000 a season with all living expenses paid.

They were approached by the Korean hockey federation in 2013 to get their Korean citizenship in order to represent them internationally. With South Korea awarded the Olympics the federation wanted to ensure it iced a competitive team.

They first played for Korea in a Division IA world championship in 2014, when they lost every game and were relegated to Division 1B for 2015. Swift led the tournament in scoring in 2015 as South Korea won the tournament to get back to Division 1A for 2016. They beat Japan for the first time in their history at the 2016 tournament and finished with a 2-2-1 record. This year, they went 4-1-0, their lone loss to Austria, to earn promotion to the top division next year.

Swift says the team has come a long way since his first year when they lost every game.

“That was a real eye-opener,” said Swift. “We basically didn’t even touch the puck in five games. In that same division, four years later, we went 4-1.”

A big turning point, Swift said, was the hiring of former NHL players Jim Paek and Richard Park, both of Korean ancestry, as coaches.

“They brought a system with them and all the guys bought into the system that is working,” said Swift, one of five players on this year’s team not originally from Korea. “These guys in Korea can all skate and they can all shoot the puck, they just didn’t have a sense of direction. Now they have coaching that can tell them and they listen with the wealth of experience the coaching staff brings. All they needed was guidance. It’s part of the process of how we’ve grown.”

Korea is in a pool with Canada, Switzerland and Czech Republic for the Olympics. The NHL has stated it will not be sending its players which is a disappointment for Swift, although, he says he’ll play against NHL players at the worlds two months later.

“Obviously, you want to play against the best in the world with the NHL guys. At the same time it gives us a better chance of winning the games,” he said.

The country’s interest in hockey is growing because of the upcoming Olympics and the national team’s success, said Swift.

“We just made history moving up to the top division,” he said. “When I first came here no one knew anything about hockey. The players didn’t even really follow the NHL. Now, everyone is on their phones at practice watching the highlights or watching the games. With the time change, when I get to the rink in the morning there are NHL games on in North America. Now it’s 24/7 hockey hockey, hockey.”

Swift has become the Wayne Gretzky of the Asian Hockey League, winning the scoring title in five of his six seasons. His 208 goals in 259 games is 10 behind the league’s all-time leader Takeshi Saito who has played 493 games. Swift is 34 points behind Saito with 461. He also has 662 penalty minutes, 205 behind the career leader.

Now that he’s so close to the record Swift says he’d like to catch Saito, who is six years older and still playing.

“When I first went over to Korea I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know anything about the country, the culture but now that I’ve been there for six years it would sort of put a stamp on my career,” Swift said.

Swift, who retained his Canadian citizenship, admits pulling on a Korean national jersey took some getting used to.

“It was different. I had mixed emotions,” he said. “Four years later, it feels natural because I spend nine months a year in Korea and I’ve been there for six years. I’m living in Korea more than I do Canada where I come home for three months in the summer.”

Czechs to teach Chinese ice hockey

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By Prague Daily Monitor

Czechs will help Chinese develop their ice hockey skills before the 2022 Beijing Olympics under the memorandum signed by Martin Urban, general secretary of the Czech Association of Ice Hockey (CSLH), and his Chinese counterparts on Saturday.

The memorandum plans the organization of training camps for young ice hockey players and the exchange of coaches and methodological materials.

The cooperation will relate to the Czech club Bili Tygri Liberec and the Chinese Kunlun Red Star, which has been playing in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) since last year.

“This is a memorandum of cooperation between the Chinese ice hockey association and our ice hockey association,” Urban said.

As a large country, China has a big potential to be developed in ice hockey.

It has asked Canada, Russia and the Czech Republic for cooperation.

The project also wants more children to play ice hockey in China.

Everything is targeted on the 2022 Winter Olympics. As its organizer, China would like to take part in its ice hockey tournament.

“It is an interest of the International Olympic Committee that the organizer is represented in collective sports. Then China will certainly want to play a dignified role in this,” Urban said.

The memorandum sets down the spheres in which cooperation may be possible. Agreements will then be signed for specific projects.

Urban said a Chinese ice hockey delegation would visit the Czech Republic on May 22.

The information recently appeared that the Chinese CEFC Group, that has acquired the Czech football club Slavia Praha, would like to enter the Liberec ice hockey.

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