Monday, May 18, 2009

Hockey Around the World! The Short Handed Mole Reports from Hong Kong

HONG KONG- This isn't a wire report so much as a simple travel piece. After covering the Indian elections--mainly the victorious Congress Party's interest in an Indian hockey league-- and arranging a wire report from our Stockholm bureau to the Chronicle offices about the Niclas Havelid signing, I hopped aboard a Cathay Pacific flight from New Delhi to Hong Kong. 5 and a half hours. I spent most of the time polishing off some gin and reading the new Geoff Dyer book.

Hong Kong's architecture and skyline isn't terribly different to that of Atlanta. Same tall blue glass boxes everywhere, but imagine Atlanta as--instead of an endlessly expanding monster with limitless room for "development" and surrounded by shitty suburbs--an insane cramped hothouse island surrounded by glittering sea and green islands with misty hills. I had come here to investigate the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Association,

, to see if there were any NHL-calibre players about, and to ascertain just when the Hong Kong national team hopes to return to IIHF competition.

Yesterday I met with sniper Bernard Fung, the Alexander Ovechkin of Hong Kong. I decided to try out my rudimentary Cantonese skills and conduct the interview that way. The HKHL's leading scorer is a mild-mannered but whimsical fellow, not at all unlike Pavel Datsyuk. I asked him if he thought there would ever be a HKHL player drafted into the NHL. Since my Cantonese was horrible and, I was quick to realize, I don't really understand the language at all, I'm not sure he knew what I asked and I'm not sure how he responded.

Oh well. Here he is scoring a game-winning goal:

That evening while taking in a game between the Hong Kong Typhoons and Golden Winter SC I remembered that everyone in Hong Kong speaks English.

For the Blueland Chronicle World Service, I'm the Short Handed Mole.

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