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Thread: Through trials and tribulations, Thai hockey persists

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    IHF Member Da Silva's Avatar
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    Thailand Through trials and tribulations, Thai hockey persists

    Bill Meltzer | correspondent Aug 8, 2007, 10:00 AM EDT

    Most people in the west are unaware that organized ice hockey even exists in Thailand. Unfortunately, few in the Far East are aware of it, either. In a country of 62 million people, there are only about 200 natives who play hockey – 80 adult men, 100 boys and 20 women.

    But hockey in Thailand actually has three decades worth of history, and a Thai national team represents the country at Asian-based hockey tournaments. The vast majority of the hockey community in Thailand is comprised of expatriates from Canada, the United States, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Czech Republic, Japan and other countries.

    As with most non-traditional hockey countries, hockey equipment is tough (and expensive) to come by in Thailand. The tropical Thai climate also seems inhospitable to the sport, but there are several ice rinks available, foggy but functional.

    One of the proudest moments in the history of the Flying Farangs team in Thailand is when its players got to meet
    the one and only “Mr. Hockey” himself, Gordie Howe.

    Thai hockey occasionally drifts into the consciousness of the rest of the hockey world. In the early 1990s an on-ice appearance by former NHL player, 1980 Olympic gold medalist and Stanley Cup winner Neal Broten at a fund-raising tournament drew mild attention from overseas. More recently, Thai hockey was featured on an Asian sports television show, and print stories in Asia, Europe and North America.

    Most notably, the NHL joined with the Thai hockey community two years ago in the wake of the deadly tsunami of December 2004. A fund-raising game organized by the Flying Farangs and Thai World Ice Hockey League nearly drew 800 onlookers to a rink not designed for spectator-driven hockey (the building was filled to capacity) and raised $50,000 (U.S.) in relief funds.

    The NHL donated $2,600 for each goal scored in the game. Billed as “Canada vs. The World,” the match featured an all-Canadian squad took on a team of players from the United States, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Japan and Thailand. The World team won by a 7-6 score. In addition to the NHL donation, about $5,000 was raised through gate receipts at the door.

    ”We've played a lot of hockey here for more than 10 years, but this is the team's proudest moment,” Flying Farangs defenseman Kevin Hall said to the Associated Press.

    There are currently three rinks in Thailand. It takes some effort to seek out hockey at the facilities, but you’ll find it at two of them.

    Today, there’s an Olympic-sized ice rink, called the World Ice Skating Center, located on the seventh floor of the Thai World Trade Center Complex in Bangkok. It is the biggest rink in Southeast Asia. But the facility places a low priority on hosting ice hockey. The sport’s development has never been atop the agenda of the Bangkok-based Thai Ice Skating Association. It’s primarily figure skating, not hockey that rinks are built for and stay in existence.

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    there are only 2 members on this site from thailand me, and some guy whos name i cant spell

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