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The search for hockey’s Yao Ming: A star could hold the key to growing the game in China

yao-ming-of-hockey

The search for the Yao Ming of hockey began in Beijing, on makeshift rinks tucked in the basement of a shopping mall and on the sectioned-off corners of a speed skating oval. It’s as unlikely an origin story as you will ever hear, with players learning to toe-drag on figure skates while wearing equipment inside out.

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AnDong “Misha” Song learned to skate when he was six years old after doctors told him that breathing in cold air would cure his respiratory problems. Rudi Ying discovered hockey on shopping trips with his mom, deciding from an early age that the strange sport was far better than being dragged from store-to-store. 

At the time, neither player knew a slew foot from a spin-o-rama. Growing up in Beijing, where 10 years ago there were maybe two actual rinks and no NHL games on TV, they didn’t even know how to put on the strange-looking equipment, often wearing shin pads over their hockey socks because they thought the socks were meant to keep their legs warm.

“We’ve always done that,” said Song. “When we started, the whole hockey community would be around 50 kids or so. We were six and there would be kids we were playing against who were 12, but we all played together because there was no one else. Looking back, we never thought we’d be here today.

Source : Internet

 

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