Pupils in Beijing now have opportunities to play ice hockey.
Over 20 primary schools in the city have joined a program that aims to promote the sport and an athletic spirit among youngsters.
Initiated by the National Committee for the Wellbeing of the Youth and Beijing Ice Star Sports Management, the Thousands of Children on the Ice program will provide students with free professional ice hockey lessons and equipment.
The company said the program will use two of its existing rinks and another five that are expected to be put into operation later this year.
The program’s organizers hope the students can start to enjoy ice hockey games after playing it firsthand.
Ice hockey, known for its intense actions, is widely popular in North America and Europe.
But in China, the sport is still quite new. Relatively high costs of equipment and training have also prevented the sport’s growth here.
Ice hockey equipment cost 3,000 yuan (460 U.S. dollars) on average, while expenses for training can be as high as 100,000 yuan a year.
Beijing, as one of the host cities of the 2022 Winter Olympics, has been actively working to promote winter sports, including ice hockey, in recent years.
Thanks to these efforts, ice hockey has seen fast development here.
A total of 15 hockey clubs and 116 minor hockey teams have been set up in the city so far.