Taipei team takes 2nd at int'l ice hockey tourney
By Liu Yu-ching ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei Black smashed their way to take second in the 2013 HKAHC International Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament on Sunday, not losing a game until the final against Beijing.
September 17, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
“Our team from the youngest 15-year-old to the oldest 40-year-old all did their best and it makes me bloody proud!” said Taipei coach Nichlous Hu, after being asked how he felt about losing the final.
The two teams had already locked horns earlier in the day to battle into the Gold Cup Division. Both teams showed enormous strength and the game went into overtime, with Taipei defeating Beijing 5-4 in a penalty shootout.
The win helped Taipei squeeze past the Vancouver Bulls to come face to face with Beijing again for the Gold Cup Division matchup.
During this tournament the Chinese Taipei Ice Hockey Federation didn't have enough money to fund the team, so players had to pay for everything themselves, from practice and coaching to airplane and hotel fees, according to the Black's captain, Kevin Yu.
“We wouldn't be here today if we didn't love hockey unconditionally,” Yu said.
“We did it all ourselves and our achievements made today were tremendous. I just hope that in the future hockey becomes valuable to the Taiwanese public and government the way basketball and baseball are so that we can continue to do what we love.” Tiffany Wang, of the Chinese Taipei Ice Hockey Federation, paid out of her own pocket to travel to Hong Kong to support the team and said that “it's easy to understand why teams that live in places where it snows are extraordinary at hockey.”
“Come winter, they open the doors and right outside is a frozen pond or lake that is nature's own ice hockey rink, all ready for them.
“We've got one ice rink and we share it with the public, yet we've trained champions (referring to the Black's first place in an Asian challenge cup in march). It's really not easy,” said Wang.
A Smooth Start
The Taiwanese team had a smooth start to the tournament, taking down the Cantonese HKAIH Troopers and the Japanese Mitsubishi Corp. team with little effort. Things didn't get challenging until facing the Vancouver Bulls, who have been champions for the last four years.
Taiwan goalie Mario Beaulac said the toughest part of the game came after the Black scored the first goal of the game with only three minutes remaining on the clock.
“We were too happy about the goal. We let go a little and they killed us in the last three minutes,” he said.
“The Bulls are formed by Vancouver police officers! They played as though they were fighting crime, and I was praying that we could win by just one point, but then we won by two!”
Bulls forward Sam Mui said coming third out of nine teams was disappointing but the fact they did so after flying 13 hours and with serious jetlag proved that they've still got it.