Experience ice hockey -25 degree temperature at 12000 feet.
Ice Hockey is the national sport of Canada and countries like USA, Russia, Finland, Germany, Poland are the biggest ice hockey playing nations in the world. The land is ice-capped for several months at a stretch, and ice hockey can be played even without the use of artificial rinks. Still, some of these countries have had artificial rinks since 17th century.
Though ice hockey is unknown as a sporting event to most Indians, people from areas like Shimla, Kashmir andLadakh in India, which have traditionally cold climates, are slowly warming up to ice hockey since the past 2-3 decades, after the Indian Army posted in the high altitude border regions took up the game and popularized it by playing annual winter matches in Ladakh.
Many ex pats from the Canadian and Russian consulates in Mumbai and Delhi have been playing the game in Ladakh for the past few years. Playing in – 20 degree centigrade at the highest Ice Hockey rinks in the world attracts and thrills them. They participate in matches at Leh with the locals. In the following video, the Montreal Canadians Ice Hockey coaches travel to the remote village of Domkhar in Ladakh to teach the mountain villagers the game of Ice Hockey.
The love of the Ladakhis for ice hockey has been immortalized in movies. For example, “Frozen” (2009) and “One more…” are feature films shot in Ladakh by Shivajee Chandrabhushan. The film “One More…” traces the journey of an amateur, but passionate, ice hockey team from Ladakh to the ice rinks of Russia.
Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar has recently made an English-Punjabi, ice-hockey-themed film Break Away that showcases the struggles faced by South Asian immigrants.
Similarly, Thin ice is an internationally financed documentary about girls in Ladakh, who want to play Ice Hockey.The video that follows shows snippets from the film. Watch the video: I loved the verve and the enthusiasm of the girls. It’s infectious.
Dolkar, a young Buddhist woman from Ladakh and her friends wish to play ice hockey, and get equipment and coaching. When they want to participate in the annual Hockey tournament they face opposition. The men in charge, the board of the winter sport club prefer ice dance from the girls, not ice hockey. They travel over the mountain to the Muslim village Kargil and create a joint team. The Buddhist and Muslim girls have to fight for their rights both on the ice and off the rink.
Let’s hope that in the years to come, India becomes a formidable player on the global ice hockey scene.