The touring Little Wolf Beijing Hockey Club was more than the Oceanside Atom Generals could handle.
The young Generals hosted the youth team from China on Feb. 5 at Oceanside Place and were surprised to find their foreign opposition to be taller, bigger and faster.
The diminutive local atoms did their best, but the Chinese simply used their assets to control and dominate the game. Little Wolf easily won despite having a short bench of only 14 players.
“They’re tough to play, said Generals player Damien Roberts. “One of them looked like a bantam player.”
Little Wolf are here on Vancouver Island for a 13-day tour of communities and ice rinks. They were invited by Chinese businessman Ray Zhang, who is the owner of the BCHL Junior A team, the Cowichan Capitals. The AAA Chinese hockey team consisted of atom (9-10 years) and peewee (11-12 years) age players.
Brian Passmore, Capitals head coach and general manager, and Troy Newans, assistant coach, are helping organize the tour. Newans said they themselves weren’t sure about the age of the players.
“We were told they were going to be atom-age players and, as you can see, there was a spread of about nine to 12 years old out there,” said Newans. “They played a fair game and it was a good experience for them.”
Getting to learn more about hockey here in Canada is the primary objective of the Chinese team’s tour on Vancouver Island.
“They’re here to experience a bit of the Canadian program,” said Newans. “They are training down with Brian Passmore and some of the Capitals and myself out of Shawnigan Lake, as well as in Duncan.”
Little Wolf has already played the Saanich Atom A Eagles before taking on the Oceanside Atom Generals on Feb. 5. They will head to the Comox Valley next.
“There is not much competition for them in Beijing; that’s why they are here,” said Zhang. “They want to play and learn hockey techniques.”