Nine teams took part in the 14th annual BOCI-Prudential Asset Management 2016 HKAHC Invitational Ice Hockey Tournament. The action went down at Mega Ice in Megabox from September 16-18.
The youngest player in the tournament was 14-year-old Chan Kun-un from the Macau team. “I study in the morning and spend most of my spare time at night to practise ice hockey”, said Chan. Facing so many opponents who were older and bigger than him, he had his work cut out. He wasn’t put off by the challenge, though, as there is also a big age gap with his own teammates, but it’s been overcome through all the practices and games.
Lennon Au-yeung, 16, representing the HKAHC Giants, started his career on ice in figure skating. He enjoyed it very much for its speed and agility, but decided to make a move to hockey, where he has since received a lot of support from parents and coaches. His best advice in the tournament was: “Never give up even when other team is leading.”
Despite the fact that training sessions end late at night, Lennon always has his school work completed in advance. When he takes the DSE later this year, he will only be able to train once or twice a week. Most of his opponents are older, bigger, and stronger than him but he said, “Don’t be scared to make contact with them because it’s part of the game.”
Ryan Wong, 19, scored 3 goals during the games on Saturday. He has been playing ice hockey for more than 10 years, and says: “The most important thing in hockey is for the defenceman to score”
Mergen Arslan has thirty years of ice hockey experience. This is no small feat, especially in Mongolia, where his town had no rink. His team, the UB Capitals, practise on open ice during the winter.
“We have only played a few times since March,” the captain and defenceman said. The team had lost a game to Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation, but the game was “tight” and “really competitive”, and overcoming these difficulties made Arslan even more proud of his players. He says hockey is important because “it’s a team game. It gives kids growth and health, instead of kids these days just playing computer games or on their phone.”
Ice hockey unites people from all walks of life. Junichiro Miyamoto, 23, of Japan’s Hama Club team, has his hands full at university, where he is studying to be a doctor. But as soon as his homework is done, he rushes to the rink for his 2am practices. He has been doing this for three years.
At the tournament, the Bauhinia-division finals featured a match-up of the UAE Theebs against the UB-Capitals, who took the trophy with a score of 5-3.
In the Silver-plate division, the Chinese Taipei Hockey Academy went head-to-head against Hama Club, who were outplayed and outscored. The game ended in a massive blowout with the Chinese Taipei Hockey Academy beating the Hama Club, 5-1.
The reigning champions of the Gold-cup division, Pilipinas and their captain Steven Fuglister, looked to take down the Mitsubishi Corporation, led by their captain Shodai Noguchi. The first two periods were intense, leaving both teams battered and tired.
With the championship on the line, both teams played with all the energy they could muster for the third and final period, but when the final buzzer sounded the score was still tied at 3-3. This took the game into sudden death overtime, where the first team to score wins. After a tough battle, Mitsubishi Corporation finally scored and won the Gold Cup championship game with a score of 4-3.
Thomas Wu, Chairman of the Hong Kong Amateur Hockey Club, Vice President and council member of the International Ice Hockey Federation, started playing ice hockey in Hong Kong when his friends invited him to play a pick-up game.
Enjoying themselves with the sport, Wu and some friends decided to start organising games in a more orderly fashion. They realised that an ice hockey club needed a lot of players, so they decided to promote hockey in the region.
BOCI-Prudential Asset Management has sponsored events by the Hong Kong Amateur Hockey Club for nine years, since the 2008 Cross-Strait Amateur Hockey Tournament, where proceeds went to earthquake relief in Sichuan. Teams from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and North America have competed in past tournaments. Dick Lee, the head of retirement and investment fund services, remarked: “Compared to other countries, Hong Kong is still learning. But after a few years, the team has progressed very significantly.”
Despite ice hockey being “very difficult to promote” in Hong Kong, Lee remains positive on its future. “Maybe some time later this sport will be more popular in Hong Kong,” he explained, recalling that the number of teams represented had increased over the years, coming together from around the world, and allowed the sport to rise in prominence. “We think of asset management as long term, not in a few years’ work. This event serves as a reflection to the philosophy of our company.”