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The strange case of China ice hockey Olympics 2022


The Chinese national ice hockey team, after risking the forfeit for manifest inferiority, made its debut at the ice hockey Olympics 2022:

but in China, the controversy broke out because almost all the players on the field were North Americans.

The strange case of China ice hockey Olympics 2022

hockey Olympics winners

Today the Chinese national ice hockey team made its debut at the ice hockey Olympics 2022 by losing 8-0 to the United States.

To make the news, however, more than the result of the match (taken for granted by comparing the history of the two countries in this sport),

is the fact that more than half of the players who took to the field with the shirt of China are North Americans.

In fact, among the ranks of the formation coached by the Italian Ivana Zapata there are as many as 16 newly naturalized Chinese natives:

the Americans Jeremy Smith, the 32-year-old goalkeeper from Michigan, Jake Chelios, 30-year-old from Chicago and son of the legendary Chris Chelios who participated in Team USA four Olympics and Cory Kane, 30 years old from California,

Canadians Ty Schultz, Luke Lockhart, the Parker brothers, Spencer Foo, Jason Farm, Zachary Yuen, Juncheng Yan, Ethan Werek, Ryan Sproul, Tyler Wong, Brandon Yip, and Paris O ' Brien, and also the Russian Denis Osipov.And although in the announcement of the formations the players were announced with the Chinese names (for example Jeremy Smith became Jieruimi Shimisi while Jake Chelios became Jieke Kailiaosi instead),

the thing did not go unnoticed and was also contested by many fans. of the Asian national team who have poured their dissent in this regard on the Weibo social network.

Inevitably, one wonders why China has had to resort to this substantial "buying campaign" from abroad for its national ice hockey team to be presented at the ice hockey Olympics 2022? 

The reason must be sought in the fact that this sport is not very widespread in the country (about 500 those who practice it at a competitive level) and that before the assignment of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

the Chinese national hockey team did not exist at all and, still today, there is no professional national championship.

To avoid an embarrassing situation then China in 2016 came up with a plan using the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) regulation that allows players to represent a country if they have lived and played in a league for two years and moved to the new national federation:

the North American players have been hired by a new Chinese club created ad hoc, the HC Kunlun Red Star, and registered in the Kontinental Hockey League, a predominantly Russian competition that also includes Belarusian, Finnish, and Latvian clubs.

Despite this, due to the not exciting results of the Chinese club,

last October, when China was drawn with the giants of the United States and Canada in the group of this Olympic tournament,

the hypothesis of a sensational withdrawal for manifest was even feared. inferiority: "Seeing a team beaten 15-0 is not good for anyone, neither China nor ice hockey,"

IIHF president Luc Tardif said about it. In the end, however, the threat was averted and the Chinese national team debuted at the ice hockey Olympics 2022, even if there was very little Chinese.