Puddles on the rink did not dampen enthusiasm as ice hockey made its Southeast Asian Games debut in tropical Malaysia, a country with no winter months but with ambitions in winter sports.
As the hosts beat Indonesia 10-3 in the first Games ice hockey match, marshals with squeegees had to mop up water after the ice started to melt in the first period.
Keeping the ice frozen is not easy in Malaysia, a steamy, winterless country where snow is unheard of, temperatures rarely dip below 20oC and humidity hovers at 80 percent.
However, Malaysia coach former Hungarian international Kristof Kovago said his players were used to a bit of water on the rink — and even saw it as an advantage.
“It is common in Southeast Asia because the weather is way too hot and very humid and there are a lot of people inside [the venue], so it’s very difficult to keep the temperature down,” he said.
“We’re used to it, that’s our advantage actually. We’ve practiced a lot in this kind of situation,” Kovago said. “It’s more sticky, so the puck will not slide. So a lot of times, you try to control the puck and you’ve just lost it because it will get stuck in the water.”
“So it’s not really an advantage, but we got used to it, so we learned to play in these kind of conditions,” he added.
Sunday’s game was at Kuala Lumpur’s brand new national ice skating stadium, in the heart of a suburban shopping mall which remains partially under construction.
The rink, described by Indonesia coach Gary Tan as the best in Southeast Asia, has had a few teething problems and it was previously blanketed by a thick fog, before staff adjusted the temperature settings.
On Sunday the rink was ringed by hundreds of enthusiastic fans, raising the temperature beyond normal levels.
“In the first period they found it difficult to skate, but eventually they were able to skate well and overall the play was quite good,” Malaysia team leader Hisham Yahaya said. “They’re used to soft ice. The ice here isn’t very hard, but they’re able to adjust.”
Ice hockey remains in its infancy in Southeast Asia and is usually played by small groups of enthusiasts.
Indonesia’s team have only been together for a matter of months and they are playing only their second tournament after making their debut at this year’s Asian Winter Games in Japan.
“This is a milestone in the bigger development of this super-beautiful sport, ice hockey,” Indonesia captain Jonathan Sudharta said. “Asia is not known for ice games, but I think this is a great milestone to develop this even further in the future.”
“It’s a beautiful rink compared to what we have in Indonesia, so we don’t want to complain about the wet or anything,” Sudharta said.
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
WOLFSBURG BEATEN: Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored from a penalty, his 34th league goal this season, finishing as the top Bundesliga scorer for the fifth time Werder Bremen gave themselves hope of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga by thrashing Cologne 6-1 to grab a playoff place on the last day of the season, while champions Bayern Munich routed VfL Wolfsburg before lifting the trophy on Saturday. Japan striker Yuya Osako scored twice as Bremen stole the lifeline of the relegation/promotion playoff place from Fortuna Duesseldorf, who lost 3-0 against Union Berlin and were relegated with SC Paderborn, finishing one point behind Bremen. “We put in a great performance under pressure, but we are aware that we haven’t achieved anything — in the relegation playoff, the emotions will be
Dustin Poirier won a thrilling unanimous decision over Dan Hooker on Saturday, surviving a brutal second round and persevering to finish a well-rounded performance in the main event at the UFC’s corporate gym. Mike Perry also ended his two-fight skid with a one-sided unanimous decision over Mickey Gall in the penultimate fight of the UFC’s fifth consecutive fan-free event in its hometown. The main event was a barn-burner from the opening round, with both lightweights trading wicked strikes and displaying minimal regard for defense. The second round was a particular spectacle, with each fighter badly hurting the other while throwing punches and
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is already in Florida with the rest of his Toronto teammates, and he knows the time to take a stand and counter the NBA plan to restart the season has passed, but his opinion on the matter has not changed. “It sucks,” VanVleet said on Monday in a videoconference of his choice to return to the court during the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter campaign. “It’s terrible timing, but that’s been 2020 for us. We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense, but