Chongqing- Since China won the bid to host Beijing Winter Olympics, the ice and snow sports industry is booming, and more and more Chinese people are attracted to participate in winter sports. Even in Chongqing, a place known as “Oven City,” where snow is rarely seen, the ice and snow sports like ice hockey become popular. According to an official report, the number of people taking part in ice and snow sports has reached 1.5 million participants in Chongqing.
“Good job!” A cheering was echoing at the Skating Rink of Aegean Sea Shopping Mall in Chongqing. An intense ice hockey competition was taking place there. On-site, players of the age ranging from 8 to middle age, were very devoted to such an exciting game. All of them are from Chongqing Chilli Dogs Ice Hockey Club, an unofficial ice hockey club composed of both native ice hockey lovers and expats from Canada, the United States, and so forth. The former Canadian Consulate founded this club in 2009, and now it’s run by Todd Hatt, a Canadian teacher from Bashu Secondary School.
Todd took over this club around 2011. During these years, especially after China won the bid to host Beijing Winter Olympics, he has witnessed a growing enthusiasm towards the winter sports like ice hockey among Chinese people. Todd says he has noticed that many universities in China have set up their own hockey teams, which helps to popularize this sport. In his club, there are some young Chinese kids. Todd gives thumbs up to their performance at playing hockey. He says an increasing number of young kids in Chongqing have been attracted to this sport, and all of them are excellent players with great potential to be rising stars in hockey. He believes these young kids will make a strong Chinese team.
When it comes to how to develop the ice and snow sports in Chongqing, where snow is rarely seen, Todd says many good ice-skating rinks have been set up in Chongqing. So even there is no snow in Chongqing, some winter sports like hockey, depending on ice, develop rapidly. So far, Chongqing has established 16 ice and snow sports venues, among which are two indoor skiing venues. These developed infrastructures have created perfect conditions for people in Chongqing to cultivate their interest in winter sports.
Playing a hockey game during the Beijing Winter Olympics is another celebrating way for many hockey lovers who cannot go to Beijing to support the hockey team they favor at the Olympics. Ben Brown, a member of the club and an influencer on Chinese social media, says his goal was to go to Beijing to watch the Beijing Winter Olympics in person several years ago. He is unable to realize it because of covid-19. Although there is a pity, he trusts that the closed-loop management of the Beijing Winter Olympics is the best solution to prevent and control covid-19 and host the game successfully, considering that the virus is prevailing in the world. Moreover, watching the Winter Olympics on TV and playing hockey are also ways to celebrate the grand event. He says he will memorize this Olympics and share it with his kids in the future. In Todd’s opinion, China sets an excellent example for the world to host a successful international sports event at such a pandemic-prevailing time. He says that Covid-19 has been very tough for everybody in the world, but there is a way through, and finding a new way to make things work like China does is more important than simply canceling.
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