On February 10th, the US Ice Hockey team beat their Chinese counterparts 8-0. But calling their opponents “China’s team” would be somewhat misleading, as most of the players weren’t actually from China. The team consisted of six players from China, seven American players, one Russian player, and 11 players from Canada. Many of the North American players were formerly of the National Hockey League and were recruited by the CCP after being unable to compete on the American team.
So why were these NHL players not playing for the American team? One reason was that the NHL barred any of its players from representing their countries in the Olympics due to COVID. So, the US team ended up with a team “stocked with college players and minor leaguers.” Who then proceeded to blow the opposing team out of the water.
Unfortunately, we won’t get to hear how the team reacted to their loss, because, in “a highly unusual decision at an event like the Olympics,” it seems that they are no longer allowed to talk with the media.
This is not the beginning of the struggles the team has faced. It had trouble recruiting enough eligible players and was nearly barred from the Olympics for the failure of some of its players to meet residency requirements, a situation further complicated by Chinese rules against dual passport holders. In the end, the players were able to rectify the problem by forfeiting their foreign passports.
While some of the foreigners playing for China have Chinese heritage, many, like Jake Chelios, who is the son of Hall of Famer Chris Chelios, do not. The Chinese team has also suffered from mismanagement, with power struggles between various factions creating a revolving door of coaches and other training staff, as well as a lack of a consistent training strategy. One commentator noted that “What is very important is to have a plan and stay with it and I don’t think the Chinese did a very good job with that, they have been all over the map.”
Congratulations to the US Olympic team for their victory, even if it was largely over their fellow countrymen.