Hong Kong has seen a huge growth in the number of ice hockey players, especially youngsters, according to a senior officer of Asiasports. Tom Barnes, executive director of Asiasports, said he saw a very bright future for ice hockey in Hong Kong and the Asian region. 'More and more Asians are taking up ice hockey as a competitive sport. To promote ice hockey, more and more tournaments and domestic leagues are being formed in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Dubai, Beijing and Manila,' he said. Mr Barnes said the increasing popularity of ice hockey meant there was a need for more ice rink facilities. 'The Skyrink and the small ice rink at the Aberdeen Marina Club are Hong Kong's only two rinks which have organised ice hockey programmes, while the others mainly focus on figure skating. For the sport to maintain this rate of growth, more ice hockey venues and facilities are a must,' he said. To widely promote ice hockey, the first Asian Youth Ice Hockey Camp will be held in Bangkok in August. The best junior players in the region will be selected to join the training camp to meet former NHL players from North America. Three Hong Kong students also agreed the sport should be promoted. Alison Chan Wai-shun, who is one of the very few Hong Kong women ice hockey players, said more training courses should be provided to accommodate the growth of the sport. 'We saw more people joining the training classes but ice hockey is still the sport of a minority because of a lack of facilities. The equipment is quite expensive, young people just can't afford them,' she said. Ms Chan said ice hockey was a very exciting game. 'I don't think the sport is suitable for Western people who are more well-built than Asians. 'Ice hockey is all about skills and rapid reaction. It's more fun than ice-skating. It's all about speed and your shooting skills,' the second-year PolyU student said. Hong Kong-born Theophious Wong and Yannick Wong from Montreal, Canada believed ice hockey suited young Asians. The two, who joined the Hong Kong Devils, an ice hockey team for young people, found Hong Kong youngsters full of potential for the sport. Meanwhile, the annual spectacular ice hockey tournament, the Dragon Centre World Ice Hockey 5's, was held from May 3 to May 13 at the Skyrink in the Dragon Centre, Shamshuipo. The event was organised by Asiasports and sponsored by Dragon Centre. This year, 12 teams competed in the Asian men's division with the first time appearance of Thai Canstar Panthers, Chang Chun and Sno-Man Taipei. The junior players were divided into three divisions: the Squirts (aged nine and below), the Pewees (aged 10 to 12) and the Midgets (aged 13 to 16).