Spending summer on ice

2015-07-24 01:07:33 GMT2015-07-24 09:07:33(Beijing Time)  Global Times
A young player puts on safety gear in the changing room before training. Photo: CFPA young player puts on safety gear in the changing room before training. Photo: CFP
A kid fires a shot in front of a goalkeeper during an ice hockey training session in Beijing. Photo: CFP A kid fires a shot in front of a goalkeeper during an ice hockey training session in Beijing. Photo: CFP

Beijingers are sweating on the subway and feeling very grateful for air conditioning this July, but there are some places in the city that are not only cool, but positively icy.

The kids of the Tiger Cub Ice Hockey Club that are enjoying a new rink in Xisanqi in northern Beijing have found a way to stay cool and learn a new skill.

While it is still far from being mainstream, more and more kids are playing the winter sport, especially in China's capital. The city currently has some of China's best youth ice hockey clubs and young players, thanks to its large pool of middle class parents, many of whom have lived overseas and are willing to invest in this relatively pricey sport.

In last December's National Youth Ice Hockey Championship, the Beijing team, composed of amateur players, beat other professional provincial teams and claimed the national title. And last month, 18-year-old Beijinger Song Andong became the first China-born ice hockey player to be drafted in the National Hockey League (NHL), after being selected in the sixth round by the New York Islanders.

The news sparked hopes among Chinese ice hockey fans that China might one day be more competitive in this sport. Currently, the Chinese national hockey team struggles to make it to international competitions. China's national hockey team didn't qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics, and it lags far behind many other Asian countries.

Beijing is bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, and many believe that a successful bid will further promote winter sports in the country.

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Editor: Zhao Wei
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