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Ice hockey is becoming increasingly popular among young Chinese. /VCG Photo
Ice hockey is growing rapidly in China
Since Beijing won the bid in 2015 to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, ice hockey population has exploded. At the end of 2015, there were around 2,000 registered professional and teenage ice hockey players. However, that number exceeded 12,000 by the end of 2017, with way more unregistered enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the number of hockey rinks available in China has increased from about 50 to over 200.
A total of 840 players, coaches, team staff and government representatives will represent the 28 teams, a record in the tournament's history. Interestingly, many are from central and southern China, areas where it rarely snows during the winter. As a matter of fact, 20 of the 28 teams are not from northeast China, where ice hockey used to be seen as a local specialty.