Chinese University Hockey League Pre-Season Game: Peking University vs. Beijing Northstars
by Alex Sherr
This past Saturday night, the Beijing Northstars faced off against the Peking University Hockey Team at the Fangfei Ice Center in Beijing. Beyond spending an evening playing our favorite sport, this particular game had a special significance for both teams.
For many of the Peking University players, it was their first real hockey game. Ice hockey is quickly gaining popularity on the Chinese mainland, due in large part to government support after China’s successful bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Youth leagues are thriving – yet when the government decided to establish the Chinese University Hockey League (CUHL) this past summer, coaches were hard-pressed to find college-age students who had skated before, let alone played hockey. The majority of students who ended up joining the team were absolute beginners; over the past few months, they’ve attended hours of extracurricular theory classes, endured grueling off-ice conditioning three to four times per week, and accumulated thirty hours of on-ice experience. On Saturday night, their excitement was palpable.
In contrast, the Northstars are battle-hardened road warriors; we win tournaments around the globe, even though the team rarely gets the chance to play together at home in Beijing. Additionally, tournament rosters are ever-changing, as expats are transient in nature, and tournament organizers don’t usually schedule games to accommodate Chinese holiday schedules. Saturday night was a unique chance to build chemistry between teammates both on and off the ice, help coach some new players, and watch the game we all know and love grow right before our eyes. The Northstars acted as natural role models for the university players, yet by the end of the game, we unexpectedly had new role models of our own.
The Northstars won, 7-3.
译: Asian Zang