By Yuri Kovalev
China’s famous Beijing Hokay Iceloong Club, founded in 2005, has sent 10 and 11 year olds to play against pupils from Minsk’s Yunost school. The Chinese club was one of the first to be set up in Beijing to train youngsters and takes an active part in national and international tournaments. The squad has played extensively abroad, including in the USA, Canada and Korea. Last season, it was ranked first in the Beijing Junior Hockey League and performed successfully at several major international tournaments.
The Chinese youngsters, who have been playing hockey for 3-4 years, joined the Yunost school pupils for training before enjoying a friendly match. They also received a master class in Raubichi from Mikhail Vasiliev, a Belarusian junior team coach. Another match took place in Bobruisk, where the Chinese hockey players faced those from the hockey section of the local junior sports school.
The Chinese delegation was headed by the Chairman of the Beijing Hokay Iceloong Centre’s Board, Zhang Yuan. He is one of the founders of China’s first private ice sports centre and a member of the organisational committee of the Asia Ice Hockey League. Zhang Yuan also heads the Chinese national hockey team at the Asian Winter Games. In August 2008, during the Beijing Olympics, a friendly match took place between the team of the President of Belarus and Chinese hockey amateurs, who were captained by Zhang Yuan.