Month: September 2021 (Page 1 of 2)

Taiwanese women will fight for Olympic spot

Source: Liberty Times Net

The Taiwanese national ice hockey team will set off on the 27th for Torre Pellice, Italy, to prepare for the second round of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Qualifying Tournament, its been more than 2 years, since the team has gone abroad to compete.

The Beijing Winter Olympics Women’s Ice Hockey Qualifying Tournament, Taiwan and Italy, Kazakhstan and Spain will play in Group G. The first game will be Italy on October 7, and it will face Kazakhstan on October 9, and Spain on October 10. First place will be promoted to the final qualifying tournament to be held in mid-November to compete for a spot to the Winter Olympics.

The Taiwan team is expected to take a flight to Italy at 5 pm on the 27th and transfer in Amsterdam, Netherlands. A PCR certificate must be submitted before entering the country. After arriving in the country multiple PCR tests will be carried out in accordance with the epidemic prevention regulations of the conference. Private car, point-to-point transfer from the hotel to the training venue.

The last time the Taiwanese ice hockey team participated in the international tournament was the 2019 World Women’s Ice Hockey Championship. Since the global epidemic, the Taiwan team has not played abroad for a long time, and the outbreak of the epidemic in Taiwan in May of this year has greatly affected the team’s preparations.

Head coach Yin Anzhong pointed out that the ice rink was closed in mid-May, and training was suspended for more than two months. During this time, it was not possible to practice on land. The only way to train was to explain physical fitness and tactics online. Training did not resume until August.

Yin Anzhong said that Taiwan’s women’s ice hockey population is small and there were not many people who originally practiced. Before the outbreak of the epidemic, the team would move abroad to train, compete with the Korean national team, and play international invitational tournaments in Thailand, but because of the epidemic we could only stay in Taiwan and practice against the boys in the junior high school group to increase the intensity of training.

Anzhong said that about one-third of the team are younger players, hoping to bring new chemistry to the team, and the team will also take this opportunity to gradually  transition new blood to the team.

 Yin Anzhong admitted that now he can only study his opponents through videos, but because it was already a game from two years ago, the recent situation is more difficult to grasp.

Speaking of the goals and expectations of the Winter Olympics Qualifying Tournament, Yin Anzhong said: “Of course I will try my best to win, but I will not criticize the players if we lose. We will treat this as a learning experience, I also look forward to seeing from the players that they will show up against powerful enemies. A fearful spirit, a positive attitude, and even a more active performance than the opponent, to make up for the technical gaps.”

Hosts China face possible exclusion from Olympic ice hockey

Source: France 24

China face possible exclusion from the ice hockey tournament at next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics in spite of being hosts because of their “insufficient sporting standard”.

“This question really arises for the men’s team, not for the women’s team,” Luc Tardif, the new president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), told AFP on Monday.

“There are going to be games for the China team that will be overseen by an IIHF official and a decision will be made afterwards.

“Watching a team being beaten 15-0 is not good for anyone, not for China or for ice hockey.”

A decision will be taken “by the end of the month” of October, said Tardif who was elected to the presidency on Saturday.

As host nation, China has an automatic qualification for the Beiing Games but they are only ranked 32nd in the world and have not played any matches since 2019.

Drawn in Group A of the men’s tournament, China would find themselves up against Canada, the United States and Germany, teams that would likely thrash the Chinese.

“If it is not possible for China, we need a plan B and it will be (decided) by the ‘ranking’ of Norway”, said Tardif.

Norway are the top nation not qualified in the ranking (11th) among those which competed at the end of August in the second of three Olympic qualifying tournaments.

– ‘On track’ for the NHL –

Tardif also said plans to have NHL players, including stars Connor McDavid and Alex Ovechkin, at the Olympics are “in good shape”.

“We have an agreement in principle from the NHL,” said Tardif. “We must now finalise with the NHL players’ association and other stakeholders.

“The devil is in the details. There is a shared desire, everyone wants it.”

The NHL gave its agreement in early September to arrange a break in its regular season from February 3 to 22 to allow players to make the trip to China.

That was not the case in 2018 when the Games were held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

On that occasion, and contrary to a routine it had held since 1998, the NHL decided the regular season would have been too disrupted and there was little benefit in promoting the game in South Korea.

Luc Tardif new IIHF President

Luc Tardif reacts after being elected new IIHF President by the 2021 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress.

By Martin Merk –

Luc Tardif has been elected as new IIHF President succeeding René Fasel, who held the position for 27 years and didn’t stand for re-election. He won the presidential election in the fourth and last round against Franz Reindl.

Tardif becomes the 14th IIHF President and the second from France after founding President Louis Magnus.

Petr Briza was elected as Senior Vice-President, and the Regional Vice-Presidents elected are Bob Nicholson (Americas), Aivaz Omorkanov (Asia & Oceania) and Henrik Bach Nielsen (Europe & Africa).

Zsuzsanna Kolbenheyer and Marta Zawadzka were re-elected as female Council members. In the first round for the remaining positions Heikki Hietanen, Anders Larsson, Pavel Bure, Raeto Raffainer and Andrea Gios were elected with a majority with two positions open for a second round. Franz Reindl was elected in the second round and Viesturs Koziols in the third round.

Tardif, who has citizenship of France and Canada, was elected to the IIHF Council in 2012 where he served as Treasurer. He played junior hockey in Canada and professional hockey in Belgium and France where he started his hockey career off the ice with Rouen’s youth program. He was the head of the ice hockey department at the French Ice Sports Federation from 2000 to 2006. In 2006, he was elected as first President of the newly created French Ice Hockey Federation, a position he was re-elected for in 2010, 2014 and 2018. He was also Chef de Mission of the French Olympic delegation at the 2014 and 2018 Olympics. He has worked as member of the IIHF Competition Committee (2008-2012) and as chairman of the IIHF Finance Committee (since 2016).

In his presentation the day before, Tardif underlined the importance of development and bouncing back after the Covid-19 crisis that hit hockey in many countries with a successful restart of the usual activities. He also presented an idea for a larger IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I by merging the two groups, for a “Flying Coaches” program to bring word-class coaches to countries for seminars and wants to further develop 3-on-3 hockey.

He underlined that a President should listen and try to understand the needs of the member national associations. And that’s what he did with individual sessions with almost all member countries during summer. A “Virtual World Tour” or “Co-Construction Process” as he called it during 90 hours.

Bob Nicholson (CAN) was re-elected as Regional Vice-President Americas after Dave Ogrean (USA) had withdrawn. Aivaz Omorkanov (KGZ) was elected as Regional Vice-President Asia & Oceania in a vote against Thomas Wu (HKG), who previously held the position. Among the candidates for Europe & Africa two candidates were remaining with Henrik Bach Nielsen (DEN) winning the vote against Franz Reindl (GER). Presidential candidate Sergej Gontcharov (BLR) withdrew his application as regular Council member and thus leaves the Council.

Zsuzsanna Kolbenheyer (HUN) and Marta Zawadzka (POL) were re-elected as female Council members. The IIHF Council must consist of at least two female and two male members.

hat left seven open positions on the Council for twelve remaining candidates. In the first round six candidates received a majority of votes and were elected: Heikki Hietanen (FIN), Anders Larsson (SWE), Pavel Bure (RUS), Raeto Raffainer (SUI) and Andrea Gios (ITA).

Two positions were still open for the second round with six candidates still in the race as the last-ranked candidate dropped out and one withdrew. Franz Reindl (GER) was elected in the second round but since no other candidate reached a simple majority, a third round was needed for one positions with four candidates running. Viesturs Koziols (LAT) was elected as last Council member.

The election day concluded with the Internal Auditors, Disciplinary Board, Ethics Board and Appeal Board.

Outgoing IIHF President René Fasel was named Life President after serving as President for 27 years and on the Council for 35 years. Outgoing Council members Kalervo Kummola, Tony Rossi, Vladislav Tretiak and Thomas Wu as well as outgoing Internal Auditor and former Council member Christer Englund were named Life Member. Outgoing Vice-President Kummola also served a lengthy period of 23 years on the IIHF Council. Long-time Disciplinary Board chairman Gerhard Mosslang was named Honorary Member.

Tunisia becomes the 82nd member country of the IIHF

By Desk Sports Team – Bolly Inside

Tunisia, led by long-time president Ihab Ayed, will become an associate member of the organization, meaning they can only participate in minor international events and won’t be able to vote at the IIHF Congresses. This is partly because Tunisia doesn’t have a legal IIHF rink, so the team participates abroad. With no full-size ice rink available to play in Tunisia, the hockey movement is led by Tunisians abroad, in particular by President Ihab Ayed, who played for Francais Volants Paris and the Courbevoie Coqs in the fourth tier of French hockey. It’s in the Paris suburb where Ayed organized his Tunisian team’s first game on 14 June 2014 that ended with a 6-5 win for Courbevoie

Tunisia Becomes 82nd IIHF Member Country Tunisia joins a group of 22 associate members, including Colombia, Lebanon, Brazil and Jamaica. Both Algeria and Morocco fall under this jurisdiction.

Two years later, the Eagles played in the Arab Clubs Ice Hockey Championship in Abu Dhabi, finishing third to teams from the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. Tunisia is the eighth Arab country in the IIHF now.

The IIHF also approved Singapore’s move to full member status, allowing the team to participate in events such as the World Championship.  The Tunisian Ice Hockey Association was founded back in 2009 and played its first,  and only game to date, as the national team against French unit Coqs de Courbevoie back in 2014. Tunisia, playing as a club team Carthage Eagles of Tunisia, won its first international tournament, the 2016 African Ice Hockey Cup, after beating the Rabat Capitals from Morocco in the final.

The current status and the future of hockey in the Philippines

By Matt B Davis – Obstacle Racing Media

Description: What is the current state of Ice Hockey in the Philippines and what does the future hold for a country that many would not expect to be participating in a game which is mainly played in the countries that experience snowing for the better part of the year?

The Philippines would not feature among the nations where Ice Hockey is played. As a tropical country, Ice Hockey and skating to a large extent are the last games that one would expect to be popular. However, these games are now becoming mainstream, where they are also moving from recreational to competitive sports. With paypal betting sites  being popular in the Philippines, it is an excellent idea to familiarize yourself with some of the games that you can find on these sites.

With paypal being an international payment methods, betting enthusiast in the Philippines find it convenient to make deposits and withdraw their winnings.Ice Hockey is one of the games that are offered. Evelyn Balyton, our sport betting expert (You can view his profile here), gives an insight on this game, its prospects in the Philippines as well as what is happening in other regions especially in the countries where it is deep-rooted. This information is important as betting enthusiasts using online sports betting sites will get a direction on where to place their bets. Let us explore this interesting sport together.

For those who may be new to Ice hockey, this is a contact sport that is played on ice. The two teams in a game, each fielding six players, use sticks to shoot the ball aiming at the opponent’s net to score and gain points. The sport is fast-paced as well as physical. The players in the game include the goaltender whose responsibility is to stop the puck into his or her net, two defenders, and three forwards whose main task is to score against the opponents.

Ice hockey is most popular in countries that experience a long winter season and subsequent snowing. In Canada, it is one of the most popular sports, often regarded as a national activity. It is also a major sporting activity in Eastern Europe, United States, and Northern Europe. Canada is the current world champion having won most of the international tournaments. North America National Hockey league which includes teams from the United States and Canada is one of the highest men’s ice hockey professional leagues in the world. Kontinental Hockey League is equally a higher league drawing teams from Russia and the Eastern part of Europe.

World Ice Hockey giants

Internationally, hockey is governed by the International Ice Hockey Federation, the IIHF. The body is charged with the role of managing the sports, organizing major tournaments, and also maintenance of world rankings. Currently, the hockey federation has a membership of seventy-six countries including the Philippines. International competitions are dominated by six countries which are also known as the Big Six, they include Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, The United States, and Sweden.

Looking at the above list, one thing in common; they are all located in temperate regions. This is the area that experiences a long winter season and ice is a common feature. In these countries and others in the temperate regions, Ice Hockey is played outdoors in the natural setting. The situation is different in tropical countries where winter is nonexistent and in areas where it is experienced it is normally mild and for a short period. The Philippines, due to its location does not experience winter, so the sport is played in artificial settings, mostly indoors. Ice Hockey and skating have become big times recreational activities, especially among the youth in the urban areas.

Ice Hockey in the Philippines

Although it is not a big name in the world arena, the Philippines is among the countries that are members of the International Ice Hockey Federation, having been admitted as an associate member in 2016. The sport is governed by the local Federation of Ice Hockey League. Although the country has been a member of IIHF since 2016 the national men’s team has been participating in the international arena since 2014 when they made a debut.

The Philippines despite being disadvantaged in terms of the environment where the game can be played naturally has been a force to reckon with in the world of Ice Hockey. In 2017, the men’s national team won the gold medal in the South East Asian games, something that shocked the world. It is not only the men’s team that has been participating in the international arena, the women’s and junior’s side made a debut at this level in 2017.

Full membership in the IIHF

In 2020, the Philippines were granted full membership in IIHF. Admission to this level is associated with the hard work and dedication that the country has shown in the game. The team has been performing well in recent years especially in the South East Asia region where they have won several titles including the Bronze in 2018 and the gold medal in 2017. The popularity of the game is now at a higher level.

It is one of the major recreational activities among the youths in the urban area. Indoor skating venues are used as practicing grounds and some of them have produced players for the national team. Like basketball, the game is almost becoming a mainstream competition. The recent upgrading of the country into full membership at the IIHF is a big boost. Among the clubs to watch as the game moves to another level following the upgrading of the membership include:

  • Manilla Lighting
  • Manilla Bearcats
  • Philippines Eagles
  • Manilla Chiefs

These teams have been producing most of the players in the national team.

Currently ranked at position 65 in the IIHF rankings, the Philippines is a team to watch in the future. With no Ice Hockey natural environments it has managed to field a strong team in international tournaments. Their eyes are on the major international tournaments and with the determination, they have shown, this is coming soon. For the hockey betting enthusiasts, the Philippines is a country to watch, the odds are high that they will soon feature among the best in the region as well as in the international arena.

Agidel lost to Vanke Raise, SKIF beat the Chinese national team

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

 The final games of the international pre-season WHL Open Cup tournament.

In the opening game of the day, SKIF beat the Chinese national team (2: 1). The Nizhny Novgorod team guaranteed second place in the tournament.

In the final game of the tournament, Agidel played against KRS Vanke Rays. The game became the first meeting after the postponed final series of the playoffs of the 2020/2021 season, as well as a rehearsal for the opening game of the 2021/22 season. KRS Vanke Rays beat Agidel 5-2.

SKIF – China  2: 1 (1: 0, 1: 0, 0: 1)

1: 0 – Prokopenko (Goncharenko, Provorova), 05:22
2: 0 – Starovoitova (Prokopenko, Teiralova), 27:13
2: 1 – Yui (Fan), 48:13

Agidel – KRS Vanke Rays 2: 5 (1: 1, 0: 0, 1: 4)

1: 0 – Pyrkova (Sosina), 00:56
1: 1 – Llanes (Wong), 11:21
1: 2 – Cogan (Kava), 44:29, IB
1: 3 – Cogan (Kava), 49:24
1: 4 – Karvinen, 49:53
1: 5 – Kogan (Karvinen, Kava), 54:04, IB
2: 5 – Sosina, 58:30

Best players:

The best goalkeeper – Valeria Merkusheva (SKIF)

Best Defender – Samantha Cogan (KRS Vanke Rays)

Best Forward – Michelle Karvinen (KRS Vanke Rays)

you can check Video and Standings at  WHL Open Cup

Vanke Rays beat SKIF thanks to Karvinen’s 2 Goals, China won their first Game

By George Da Silva – National teams of Ice Hockey

The results of Saturday’s games saw China shock the Russian U18 team by a score of 3-2.

Xin Fang scored the winning goal in the 3rd period. China now moves into 4th place while the Russian U18 will finish in last place with 1 point.

China – Russia (U-18) 3: 2 (1: 0, 0: 1, 2: 1)


1: 0 – Lam (Fairman, Barry), 16:12
1: 1 – Nuyaksheva, 29:23
2: 1 – Segedi (Nethlon), 44:31
3: 1 – Fang (Pi), 53:22
3: 2 – Sviridova (Smurova, Nesterova), 57:36

The second game was a battle for first place, the KRS Vanke Rays beat SKIF 3-1. Two goals by Michelle Karvinen .- the winning goal and a empty netter at the end of the 3rd period

The victory in regulation time allowed the Chinese team to win the WHL Open Cup ahead of schedule.

At the end of three game, the Chinese team has 9 points and guaranteed itself first place in the WHL Open Cup. SKIF retains the opportunity to catch Vanke Rays in terms of points, but will remain second due to the result of head to head meeting.

SKIF – KRS Vanke Rays 1: 3 (1: 1, 0: 1, 0: 1)


1: 0  – Goncharenko (Falyakhova, Bratischeva), 04:46 IB
1: 1 – Lam (Houston, Mills), 13:08 IB
1: 2 – Karvinen, 26:35
1: 3 – Karvinen, 59:31, EN

On Friday September 17th saw one game Agidel beat the Russian youth team in overtime.

Agidel – Russian (U-18) 3: 2 OT (0: 0, 1: 0, 1: 2; 1: 0)


1: 0 – Batalova (Lutsak-Chupkova), 26:11

1: 1 – Nesterova, 41:21

1: 2 – Landyreva (Nesterova), 52:14

2: 2 – Batalova, 56:23

3: 2 – Pechnikova, 64:10

you can check Video and Standings at  WHL Open Cup

Vanke Rays Back to Back Wins, SKIF defeated Agidel

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

SKIF and Kunlun became the leaders of the WHL Open Cup.

The Vanke Rays beat the Russian U18 and Chinese national team on consecutive days with a scores of 6-1 & 4-2. Michelle Karvinen notched 2 goals against the Russian youth team while Cassie Betinol scored 2 goals for the Chinese national team against Vanke Rays.

SKIF defeated Agidel by a large score of 6-1 keeping them in first place with 6 points.

Vanke Rays – Russian national team (U-18) 6: 1 (3: 0, 0: 0, 3: 1)


1: 0 – Lam (Thyssen), 10:15

2: 0 – Kawa (Wu), 11:40

3: 0 – Karvinen (Kava), 19:52

4: 0 – Costales (Llanes, Mills), 49:55

5: 0 – Kawa (Wong, Nordin) 51:28

5: 1 – Larshina (Kuznetsova), 59:26

6: 1 – Karvinen (Nordin), 59:35

Vanke Rays – China 4: 2 (2: 0, 1: 1, 1: 1)


1: 0 – Kava, 17:40

2: 0 – Houston (Belyakova, Wong), 18:17

3: 0 – Wu (Karvinen), 28:45

3: 1 – Betinol (Wong, Ji-Xin), 33:43

3: 2 – Betinol (Byway, Lam) 47:57

4: 2 – Llaness (Nordin), 56:48

Agidel – SKIF 1: 6 (1: 3, 0: 0, 0: 3)


0: 1 – Falyakhova (Starovoitova), 5:41

1: 1 – Lutsak-Chupkova (Sosina, Mikaelyan), 11:58

1: 2 – Smolina (Garipova, Falyakhova), 17:13

1: 3 – Bratischeva (Smolina), 19:57

1: 4 – Smolin, 42:42

1: 5 – Prokopenko (Teiralova) 44:11

1: 6 – Bratscheva (Starovoitova, Falyakhova), 46:30

you can check Video and Standings at  WHL Open Cup

Agidel defeated China Women, SKIF defeated Russia U-18 In the WHL Open Cup

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Results of the games on day one.

On August 14, the WHL Open Cup started.  In day one of the tournament  two games took place.

The Russian national team U18 vs SKIF and Agidel vs the Chinese women’s national team.

The last time the Chinese women played was in November of 2019.

Agidel – Chinese national team 6: 1 (4: 0, 2: 0, 0: 1)


1: 0 – Luchnikova (Lutsak-Chupkova), 00:23

2: 0 – Pyrkova (Luchnikova), 01:38

3: 0 – Rodnova (Mitrofanova), 06:37

4: 0 – Luchnikova (Pyrkova, Lutsak-Chupkova), 18:03

5: 0 – Korzhakova (Mikaelyan, Rodnova), 26:56

6: 0 – Korzhakova (Luchnikova), 30:51

6: 1 – Fan (Yu, Zhao), 40:18 IB

Russian national team U-18 – SKIF 0: 3 (0: 1, 0: 1, 0: 1)


0: 1 – Kulishova (Goncharenko, Falyakhova), 18:43

0: 2 – Nadezhdina (Likhacheva), 21:28 IB

0: 3 – Nadezhdina (Ananyina), 43:11

you can check Video and Standings at  WHL Open Cup

Why China’s Ice Hockey Team is So Bad

China’s men’s ice hockey team will be largely made up of players from the Kunlun Red Star team, which plays out of Beijing. But how will they fair against NHL superstars come the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing?

By Patrick Blennerhassett – South China Morning Post

China’s men’s ice hockey team, ranked 32nd in the world by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), could find themselves as whipping boys in what will be a National Hockey League star-studded tournament come February at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

How did we get here, with a team that has no business competing in this tournament? And why is China’s ice hockey team still so bad given it had as far back as 2015 to prepare for this eventuality after successfully lobbying the IIHF for a spot?

The IIHF bought into China’s push, as reported by China Sports Insider, because it has a “mandate to grow the game globally”, and China, the most populous country in the world with the second largest economy, catching hockey fever would be good for the sport.

When China was awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics eight years ago, it immediately set about pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into winter sports infrastructure and coaching with an eye on nabbing as many medals as possible on home soil. Reportedly, China has set a goal of having 300 million people actively participating in winter sports by 2022, which is part of a broader strategy by Xi Jinping to tackle the country’s growing obesity epidemic.

How badly will China’s men’s team do at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing? Most KHL players never made the NHL

One of the initiatives was for China to have 800 ice rinks built by 2022, a number they have achieved as state news agency Xinhua reported. According to the IIHF, China has 537 indoor and 285 outdoor rinks for a total of 822. The ice hockey portion of Beijing 2022 will be held at the Wukesong Arena, which was originally built ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics

However China’s men’s ice hockey team, which was drawn in a group with heavyweight contenders Canada, ranked first in the world, and the US (fourth), plus Germany (fifth) – has not seen its quality improve along with the rise in financial injections and government support. According to the IIHF there are only 537 men actively playing the game in the country, and 8,147 junior players. In comparison, Canada has 76,899 male and 429,173 junior players with a total of 2,860 indoor rinks and 5,000-plus outdoor rinks.

China will become the lowest-ranked team to ever qualify for the men’s ice hockey event at the Olympics, and games will be held on Olympic-sized ice, which tends to favour higher scoring games. The NHL will be sending its best players, which includes the top 10 points scorers for the 2020-21 regular season. This group features six Canadians (Connor McDavid, Brad Marchand, Mitch Marner, Nathan MacKinnon, Mark Scheifele and Sidney Crosby), two Americans (Auston Matthews and Patrick Kane) and one German (Leon Draisaitl). China will face all of these players in its first three group games.

Anytime China has been given a chance to show progress, it’s responded with abysmal appearances. In 2015, for the preliminary qualifications for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, they participated in round robin play and lost to Serbia (ranked 29th), Spain (31st) and Iceland (35th) by a combined goal differential of minus-21.

At the 2019 World Championships, China competed in the second division, meaning they didn’t face any teams with anywhere near the skill level they will in Beijing, however they still went on to lose to Australia, Spain, Serbia and Croatia before defeating Belgium (ranked 36th) in the team’s final consolation match. Two years before that at the Asian winter games, against much more formidable opponents, China didn’t score a single goal in their three matches, losing to Japan 14-0, South Korea 10-0 and Kazakhstan 8-0.

Compounding all of this is the fact that China have not played an international game since 2019 due to the pandemic. NHL players, of which there will be an estimated 150 at the Olympics, will be in mid season form as the league is pausing its schedule for a month to accommodate the Games.

The IIHF looked into banning the men’s team from competing in the hope of avoiding an embarrassment for all involved at the Games. The IIHF reportedly pushed China to recruit and naturalize players, but few overseas Chinese players (most of whom are in Canada) were keen.

China Sports Insider also reported that China had been trying to recruit ethnically-Chinese North American players to play for Beijing-based Kunlun Red Star, who play in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League, however a falling-out between the Chinese Ice Hockey Association and that team made it difficult. This saw the CIHA essentially relieved of its duties, and the game’s overall management in the country taken over by the General Administration of Sports.

A China Daily article in August detailed a five-month training program the national team players were undertaking in Russia to get ready for the Games, but did little to detail how training in Russia among themselves would make them better players. The article stated the Chinese team will face a number of European national sides this December, but did not specify which nations.

“We have to be realistic,” said new head coach Ivan Zanatta, a former Italian national team manager and former KHL coach. “For me, the main objective is to gain the world’s respect. That’s a lot. It’s a huge challenge for China, but it’s a good challenge.”

Turns out Zanatta is part of a revolving door of coaches that previously included former NHL player Mark Dreyer, who was appointed nine months before Beijing 2022, but has since left the position for unknown reasons.

Back in 2014, according to The Economist, Xi told an interviewer in Sochi, Russia that ice hockey was his favourite winter sport to watch.

One wonders if he will able to sit through what will surely be four embarrassingly bad games, broadcast globally, for China’s ill-equipped men’s ice hockey team?

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