Malaysian hockey on the rise

Many girls hit the ice, two new rinks on the way

13.10.2013
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Happy girls at the shopping mall rink in Malaysia. 40 girls came on Saturday, a second event will be held on Sunday. Photo: MIHF

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia – Ice is hard to come by in steamy Malaysia. But that didn’t stop about 30 excited girls turning out for two days of games and drills at the Sunway Pyramid ice rink.

The small rink in Petaling Jaya, south of Kuala Lumpur, hosted its second annual World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend, with the 2013 edition seeing a significant increase in attendance from last year.

“We did a lot more promotion for this year,” event organiser Susan Loh told IIHF.com.

“We had more posters and banners around the rink and shopping mall, which meant we had a lot more new people come along to try hockey.”

A busy two-hour schedule on both Saturday and Sunday had the girls participate in skating, stickhandling and passing skills, and a small game.

Warm-up drills were followed by turning and stopping relays. After a brief break, the girls returned to the ice for cone weave skating, ducking and jumping over hockey sticks, and a tag race.

The girls also each received a souvenir for their participation on the day.

“The parents were amazed at how organised and how much fun the girls had.”

The event has been such a success – and the sport so captivating – that the Malaysian Ice Hockey Federation will host another girls’ weekend in six months, while two new international-sized rinks will open in the country next year.

“The promotion of this event went a long way to gaining exposure for our Girls’ Hockey Weekend. The local media also came along to cover our event,” said Loh.

“We had a video team and a local newspaper – which all help to raise hockey’s profile and boost our numbers for the next camp.”

As yet, there is no women’s league, but it’s hoped the new facilities will lead to a sharp rise in participation in Malaysia, which became an IIHF member in 2006.

With a population of over 29 million, there’s plenty of room to grow.

“Ice hockey has a very promising future in Malaysia. The next few years have a great outlook.”

Click here for a video from the event.

TREVOR ALLEN

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