Hockey catching on in Bangkok

ALEX UROSEVIC -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

BANGKOK, Thailand -- A hockey game can show up in the most unlikely of places these days.

On the eighth floor of the Central World Plaza shopping mall, for instance, the World Thai Hockey League plays its games, despite outside temperatures of 44C.

Toronto native Scott Murray is the player-coach of the Flying Farangs, one of four teams in the WTHL that is made up of both foreigners and Thais.

He said the game is growing in popularity despite having been introduced only in the past 20 years.

A charity game to raise funds for areas devasted by the December tsunami drew nearly 800 people and raised $50,000.

Murray has worked to keep the game alive in Thailand and has recruited players from hockey-playing nations to inject the necessary lifeblood.

There are only about 200 Thais who play hockey, mostly in Bangkok and Chaing Mai in the north. Hockey equipment is also hard to come by and everyone is always on the lookout for a rink.

"The biggest problem with hockey in Bangkok, is they keep shutting down our rinks," Murray said.

It took the players a long time to convince the owners of the Central World Plaza rink to let them play. In March, they finally were allowed in. They've even installed boards they had shipped from Vancouver.


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