Cool customers take hockey title
Ong Chin Huat
Fresh from their victory in last Sunday's game where the Jack Americans bagged the championship trophy in the Nortel World Ice Hockey Fives tournament, Tom Barnes, who plays in defence, tells me it was both mentally and physically exhausting because in ice hockey 'you have to use both your brain and your body'.
Tom who, as the executive director of Asiasports, organises ice-hockey tournaments and leagues all over Asia, has been playing the game since he was five.
According to David Madden, who is the goalie, the finals between the Jack Americans and the team from Prague, of the Czech Republic, was a close call.
'The players from Prague are very big and talented and it was intimidating for us at first,' said David.
'And as the Czech national team just hammered the dream teams from the US, Canada and Russia to win gold at the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, it was doubly intimidating for us. Some of the players in the team had also played for the junior national team, so they were very good.' But David said the Jack Americans won because 'we started very aggressively and later wore them down'.
According to Tom, the growth in popularity of ice hockey in Hong Kong is attributed to many local Chinese taking it up. A special Asian division is being set up in order to accommodate seven Asian teams this year. 'We hope to see more locals joining us,' he said.