B.C. hockey coach brings Canada's national pastime to Mongolia

Mongolia isn't exactly a hockey hotbed.

The landlocked country sandwiched between China and Russia is home to only 13 rinks – all of them outdoors – and just 653 registered hockey players.

See Full Article

But for hockey coach Nathan Leslie, making a more than 8,000-kilometre journey to share his country's national pastime was part of satisfying a life's ambition.

"This is exactly fulfilling a dream I had of connecting with coaches and hockey enthusiast around the world," he told CTV Vancouver.

Leslie coaches hockey at the Britannia Hockey Academy in Vancouver. He previously played Junior-A hockey in his youth, and had a few stints in Switzerland's National League before he retired and became a coach.

Earlier this year, Leslie decided to venture to Mongolia with his brother and a small film crew, to spread his love of the game.

Mongolia couldn't afford to bring over Leslie and his crew, so the Canadians took it upon themselves to raise the $22,000 necessary to make the trip.

After securing the funds, the group finally made it to the Asian country in February, bringing with them 10 bags full of hockey gear, including over 50 pairs of skates.

Starting in the capital of Ulaanbaatar, the group visited seven of the country's rinks, making their way north, to just 80 kilometres from the Russian border.

Despite the frigid temperatures, Leslie and his crew received a warm welcome.

Leslie said the nomadic Mongolian people would sometimes arrive on horseback to watch practices and bring them lunch.

"We had a group one day wait five hours in -25C to -29C weather, hoping that we would show up and get on the ice," he said.

Leslie said he was impressed by his pupils' determination to learn the sport.

"They're tough. They're resilient. They're as passionate as we are," he said.

Thanks to the success of the trip, Leslie has plansto spread his love for the game in other countries where hockey is on the margins of the collective consciousness. Next on the docket are China and New Zealand– two countries that have just over 2,500 registered hockey players combined.

"Hockey is the vehicle that has been able to take us around the world, and (I) just cherish that and enjoy it," he said.

With files from CTV Vancouver



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Deaths of doctors, nurses highlight virus risks they run

    World News CTV News
    ROME -- Air raid sirens sounded across China and flags flew at half staff in a tribute Saturday to victims of the coronavirus pandemic including the health care "martyrs" who have died while fighting to save others. Source
  • Trump fires watchdog who handled complaint that triggered impeachment

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump has fired the intelligence watchdog who handled the complaint that triggered his impeachment. Trump informed the Senate intelligence committee Friday of his decision to fire Michael Atkinson, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. Source
  • Trump fires watchdog who handled whistleblower complaint that triggered impeachment

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump has fired the intelligence watchdog who handled the complaint that triggered his impeachment. Trump informed the Senate intelligence committee Friday of his decision to fire Michael Atkinson, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. Source
  • Another member of fire panel resigns, criticizes PG&E plan

    World News CTV News
    BERKELEY, CALIF. -- The former chief financial officer for a Northern California city destroyed in a 2018 wildfire caused by Pacific Gas & Electric equipment is trying to upend the utility's plan for getting out of bankruptcy because she believes the company is shortchanging the people devastated by its misconduct. Source
  • Alberta health minister used confidential information to call protesting doctors

    Canada News CBC News
    When Dr. John Julyan-Gudgeon went to a hospital event to protest health-care cuts, he didn't expect it to lead to an after-hours phone call on his personal cellphone from the health minister. But that's exactly what happened. The doctor attended a provincial funding announcement at the Red Deer Regional Hospital on Feb. Source
  • Judge demands FBI provide new details about its surveillance

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The chief judge of a secretive national security court demanded Friday that the FBI provide him with details about some of its investigations after the Justice Department inspector general identified problems with more than two dozen wiretap applications. Source
  • Major credit card companies raise tap limit to $250 to help cut spread of COVID-19

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Major credit card companies have increased their tap limit to $250 to help customers who want to make less physical contact while shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. MasterCard and Visa raised the tap limits from $100 to $250 and the Retail Council of Canada is hoping that Interac will soon follow. Source
  • 'Always new expenses': Lawsuits filed as anniversary of Broncos bus crash nears

    Canada News CBC News
    It's been almost two years since the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan and with the solemn anniversary comes a closing legal window that has seen several lawsuits filed in court. Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured after a transport truck barrelled through a stop sign and into the path of the bus carrying the junior hockey team on April 6, 2018. Source
  • Ontario premier slams Donald Trump's decision to cease exports of N95 masks to Canada

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford has slammed United States President Donald Trump's decision to cease exports of manufacturing giant 3M's N95 face masks to Canada. "I just can't stress how disappointed I am at President Trump for making this decision," Ford said at Queen’s Park on Friday. Source
  • Relatives of the Kennedy family reported missing after canoe ride in Maryland

    World News CTV News
    Authorities were searching Friday for the daughter and a grandson of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend after a canoe they were paddling in the Chesapeake Bay didn't return to shore. Gov. Larry Hogan identified the missing relatives as Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and McKean's 8-year-old son, Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean. Source