The Culture of Hockey in China
What is it like to play hockey in China
Large cities like Chongqing have built large malls in their city center. These large structures tend to have an indoor skating rink for the people to rent among other things as well. The cost is about 85-100 RMB for each player to use the ice for two hours. If negotiating with the manager of the arena you can normally make arrangements to play every week between 2000 to 3000 RMB for the year. This will vary city to city and you must factor how many players you have and willing to be active on a regular basis. The hockey community is very small ran by a passionate group of foreigners. In Chongqing, there about 100 players where the majority are foreigners from Canada, America, and Russia but we have Chinese hockey coaches and Chinese players that are learning to play. Hockey is a sport many North Americans and Russians love to play as it reminds them of back home and an opportunity to meet other foreigners with similar interests. The group is open and friendly to all players (boys, girls, foreigners or local Chinese it doesn’t matter). What great about this community is we welcome newbies to come out and play. We will provide training and help anyone who wants to learn. The hockey group will lend out equipment as well for new people to test out the sport before they make the investment in the equipment themselves. Equipment costs can vary but 500-1000 RMB you can buy a decent set of equipment in China.
Types of Hockey
We tend to play two types of hockey and the first type is the traditional full game of 5 and a goalie hockey. When we are short players or don’t have any goalies we play the second type of game which is 3 versus 3 hockey. This is dependent on the arena and the number of players we recruited for the week. The goalie is a tough position and not everyone’s first choice as they want to score. For the hockey group in Chongqing, the group plays in one main Mall in Daping on Thursdays and in Yubei on Sundays. Depending on the arrangement the hockey group made you pay the fee at the door and only if you show up to play that night.
The 2020 Beijing Tournament
As the year of the rat is starting a few brave sportsmen from Chongqing head out to the frigid north of China. After Spring Festival just outside of Beijing, the dead of winter ready for something extraordinary; a frozen sheet of ice where teams from across China will come to compete for forever-lasting glory in the shadow of the Great Wall.
The unlikely game is ice-hockey; the tournament, The Beijing Pond Hockey Tournament. Chongqing’s own Red Hot Chongqing Peppers will be competing against the likes of the Cone Heads, The Snipers, and the Hitmen. The tournament brings together ex-pats, Chinese locals and even guests from overseas to enjoy the greatest sport on ice. There different tournaments for hockey all year round and are heavily influenced by the 2020 winter Olympics hosted in Beijing.
A Typical skating rink looks like in China
Beijing Olympics 2022
As Beijing gets ready to host the Olympics in 2022 the country is trying to improve it’s standing in winter sports like hockey. While this tournament is not geared towards the development of local talent, it is sure to spark excitement in the sport for anyone who is exposed to it. The interest in hockey has increased exponentially over the last year. Skating rinks would be empty for most of the day but towards the end of 2019, the hockey rink would be packed all day of kids trying to learn to skate and learn to play hockey. This trend for hockey will continue to grow right up until the winter Olympics occur. It will be amazing to see what lasting effect it will have on China when the Olympics are completed. Your Red Hot Chongqing Peppers can’t guarantee that we will bring home a championship, but we can promise that we’ll look good doing it.
There is a WeChat group called Chongqing Hockey and I will be happy to personally add you to the group if this is something you be interested in. You can message below in the comments.