| Hongkong´s Skyrink
Actually the Skyrink in Hongkong does not really qualify as a hockey-arena as most people might define it. But since it´s an ice-surface on which the so-called Hongkong Summer Ice Hockey League is taking place and it hit me quiet by suprise to find hockey even in this corner of the world I will publish the Skyring as well as the Madison Square Gardens of the world on this page.
While one might think of a real hockey arena when the word "Skyrink" is being used it might come as a suprise that it´s basically only a very small ice-surface adjacent to the food-courts of the Dragon Centre, a mall in Kowloon, Hongkong. There are also no tickets to buy; the players on the ice are glad for every person who takes a glare at the action on the ice. Compared to most professional hockey-arenas at least the food is good and pretty cheap with the food-court just around the corner.
When I try to judge the quality of the game and the talent-level of the players on the ice I can easily state that even the German national team could win a couple of games here. Some of the players really appeared to have a certain amount of talent, some others had problems with the basics of skating, passing and shooting.
Besides the small ice-surface there are also a couple of other differences worth to mention about the way the game is being played. The game lasts for 2 halfs, both lasting 25 minutes. The clock runs continuosly as we know it from a soccer-game, if there is a penalty called the best penalty killing consists of a very long line-change and a lot of discussions prior to the face-off. Once the two minutes have passed, the penalized player is allowed to step on the ice again, no matter wether he actually missed 10 seconds or the full two minutes of the game.
The game I had visited at the Skyrink was played in front of a crowd of about 50 people. One of the teams was dressed in Japan-jerseys, the other squared off in blue jerseys. The blue team defeated "Japan" by a score of 6:1 and I think that some patriotism played a role when they decided who would wear the Japan-jerseys for the game. Nothing to be taken extremly serious I suppose...
Tips for visitors:
There is a lot to do and see in Hongkong, watching hockey might not be part of the regular touristic schedule. I was really suprised when I read in "Hongkong Now", a weekly and freely distributed newspaper with event-listings for the upcoming week in the Hongkong-area, that there even is hockey in Hongkong. Curious as I was I made the trip to the printed adress and ended up in front of a shopping-center, but in the end it was more of an experience than a real joy.
At least some pretty interesting street-markets could be found in the streets surrounding the "game" at night so the trip was not a complete waste of time.
Some Chinese also paid my dinner that evening after they had a bet going between them from where I am (part of the bet was that they would pay my bill and some cash to the winner of the bet). I was not part of betting-process until one of them walked over to my table and asked the "important" question and I got the 2nd suprise of the evening when I wanted to leave and found out that my table was running on their credit-card by now.
I don´t know if there are more Skyrinks in Hongong and wether the league-games are rotating but if there is a game at the Skyrink you just have to take the subway going to Sham Shui Po. Once you´re there and up to the daylight again you will be right in front of the mall. Try the foodcourt, walk the streetmarkets and if you want to catch a couple of minutes of hockey...
No official links to anything here, sorry....