Chinese bantam hockey team impressing Ontario hosts
The Belleville Minor Hockey Association rolled out the red carpet for some special visitors on Sunday at the Yardmen Arena.
There was international competition as the Harbin Dragons from China defeated the Major Bantam Bulls 4-1.
“We played very well,” says 12-year old Han Shangjun.
“We passed the puck, we shot perfectly, skated hard and we beat them. Our coach is very happy. We’re learning how to play hockey from Canadian players because Canada is the best hockey playing country in the world and it is an honour to be here.”
“They caught us off guard,” Belleville’s assistant captain, Nicholas Paris, said.
“They came out really fast and were on top of us, right off the face-off. We didn’t think they would be that quick. They were big, fast and physical and really knew how to skate and that’s something we didn’t expect.”
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The Harbin Hockey School, which is based in northern China is currently on a 30-day tour of Ontario. Sunday’s game in Belleville upped their record to 4-2.
Through an interpreter, coach Du Chao said he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I am very satisfied. All my players did a very good job but there’s still room for improvement.”
Chao says hockey is becoming very popular in China and there’s a good reason why.
“Our president likes hockey and he has committed government funding for the sport. He wants to see players improve because Beijing is hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.”
The Dragons will play 18 games against bantam opponents during their stay in Ontario. The boys, who are 12-14 years old, will lace up their skates again Monday in Woodstock. Game time is 8:15 p.m.
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