Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Ice Hockey in Riyadh


We played Ice Hockey in Riyadh.  Something I never thought we would do.  Which begs the question  'Is there ice in Riyadh?

There are a couple ice-skating rinks in Riyadh, one in a mall for children and one in that same mall for women only.  I haven't been to it yet, so there's a goal for the future.  I understand further north, where there are some mountains, it snows.  (Will have to make a point of going there as well).

However, we never played on ice .  We played on a tennis court.  In a dust storm.

I've been intending to put this on the blog for ages, but keep by-passing it for no good reason at all.  In May (yes it was that long ago) the Canadian Embassy hosted an Ice Hockey on a Tennis Court tournament.

Apparently the Embassy has regular games each week and if you're looking for some fun activity that keeps you fit and is very social, this is it.

How did we get involved?  One of the NZ Embassy staff asked if we'd be keen to participate.  The Husband jumped right in with a yes.  I was more cautious.....
'Ummmm Pete, how do you play ice hockey?'  
His reply went something like this, 'Heck, I have no idea, but there's drinks and a bar-b-q afterwards'.
'Right...ummmm, I can go cheerleader'.
'I'm taking that to mean you're on the team.'
'Of course she's on the team', chirps The Husband.
The Husband chirps?.....
He did that day.

I admit I was secretly hoping we'd have so many players they wouldn't need me.  Wrong!

There were six teams in a round robyn challenge with the emphasis on fun. 
  • Canada- they won
  • USA - the came second
  • Combined Fins (or something like that I think, they were quite competitive)
  • Commonwealth - self explanatory
  • New Zealand (we were the only Commonwealth that had enough players for our own team - Go the Kiwi's)
  • The Rest of The World
The New Zealand team before the tournie were looking.....well, a little apprehensive really.  Goalies were provided, which is just as well because none of us had played this game before.  It's a bit of a worry when you first have to learn which way round the stick goes.

The other teams were very experienced.  This is an extremely fast game.  We were advised to sub - frequently.  Bloody good advice.
The Kiwi's on the turf
Note the color of the air....a bit of dust blew in.
This is fun
Julien looking fierce
The Bench
It's a very high energy game - we were buggered.  We didn't win any games either, though our losing margin did decrease with each game.  The bonus with being at the bottom end of the draw meant we were first to retire to the refreshments.
 

 Kiwi team after the tournament, prior to the food.

I believe the Canadian Embassy may make this an annual event.  There was talk we might practice before then....so far, nadda.  But we are very proud to say that New Zealand came 6th in the Inaugural Ice Hockey Tournament in Riyadh. 


2 comments:

  1. I play with an amateur ice hockey team just for fun and the sake of training, at the FAL ice skating arena, its not an official sized one but its the best one u could find in riyadh. i'm lebanese but i play with saudi boys of mixed ages from juniors to seniors, every sunday we train for a while then we play a match after training.

    you're welcome to join us, we're always looking for more players, and hopefully one day they will build an official sized arena in riyadh.

    PS: Jeddah has a big arena and a couple of good teams.

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  2. Great to read this.
    I am Swiss and a licensed ice hockey trainer (by Swiss Ice Hockey).
    Today I will check the FAL Center, and if I find some good skates (Bauer/Easton) and a stick, for sure I will come on sunday to play.

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