Chinese hockey team comes to Anchorage to train
It's back to work for Kunlun Red Star -- the hockey team from China gets in a practice at the Subway Sports Center.
"This is a great opportunity for China's hockey," said Defenseman Zhixin Liu.
Red Star is in its first season in the Canadian Women's Hockey League. Anchorage's Zoe Hickel is among the North American players on the team. She came up with the idea to bring her teammates home.
"We were going to end up being in Toronto for three weeks, it's kind of a crossroads here in Alaska, it was an idea we had, and we were able to put it together, and it's kind of crazy to have my teammates here in my hometown," said Hickel.
"We have great facilities here in Alaska, people bringing food for us, saying we're going to have a great time," said Red Star assistant Saara Niemi.
The players know what to do, but communication is the biggest challenge.
"They know English better than we know Chinese," said Hickel.
What you can't dispute is the product on the ice -- Kunlun finds itself in a three-way tie for first at the halfway point of its first season. However, the Chinese players may soon play for more than a league title.
China will host the 2022 Olympics and has plans for its hockey team to be in the middle of it, so, the Chinese are getting help from players with international experience. Hickel won consecutive world titles for Team USA. Kelli Stack captured Olympic silver medals in 2010 and 2014.
"I just wanted a new challenge, to kind of leave a legacy on another country, and help them build their game of hockey," said Stack, who plays forward.
The Chinese players are not complaining.
"I love this, this sport, it's a team sport, you work hard and you need team together, and everyone together. I love this," said Liu.
Despite being brought up a world apart, these players speak the same language on the ice.
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