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

  • Organizer of Saturday D.C. rally looks to rewrite Jan. 6 history

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The architect of a Washington protest planned for Saturday that aims to rewrite history about the violent January assault on the U.S. Capitol is hardly a household name. Matt Braynard worked as an analyst for the Republican Party, crunched data for a small election firm and later started a consulting business that attracted few federal clients, records show. Source
  • Rittenhouse hearing to decide on evidence allowed at trial

    World News CTV News
    MADISON, WIS. -- A judge was set to decide Friday whether jurors at the trial of a man accused of killing two men and wounding a third during a police brutality protest in Wisconsin last year will see video that prosecutors say shows him talking about wanting to shoot people. Source
  • Vancouver clinic to offer take-home medical-grade heroin in North America first

    Canada News CBC News
    The Providence Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver is pioneering a new step in harm reduction by enabling some of its patients to take home medical-grade heroin. The program is the first of its kind in North America. Dr. Source
  • Minnesota Supreme Court rules Minneapolis voters may decide on abolishing the police department in upcoming elections

    World News CTV News
    The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Thursday that voters in Minneapolis may decide on abolishing the police department in the upcoming municipal elections. The measure, if approved, would amend the city charter to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety. Source
  • B.C. says it can't take patients from Alberta's overwhelmed ICUs

    Canada News CBC News
    B.C. says it won't be able to take any of Alberta's extra intensive care unit patients at a time when that province's hospitals are buckling under the weight of patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services (AHS) said Wednesday it will ask other provinces if they can take ICU patients who need care, or spare staff that can work in intensive care units. Source
  • Cuba begins vaccinating children as young as 2

    World News CTV News
    HAVANA -- Sitting on her mother's lap, 2-year-old Lucia looked at the illustrations in her book while around her several children watched the doctors in white coats and nurses with thermometers in amazement. In an adjoining room, Danielito, also 2, sniffled while getting a shot as a clown tried to distract him. Source
  • Haiti PM, under fire, addresses evidence in leader's slaying

    World News CTV News
    PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI -- The office of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry issued its first public statement Thursday about evidence authorities say they have of phone calls between him and a key suspect in the presidential assassination, saying he received countless calls from people concerned for his safety following the slaying. Source
  • U.S. boosts security, warns risk of violence at pro-Trump Capitol rally

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Travellers arriving at the airport nearest Washington, D.C., will face increased security in the run-up to a planned Saturday rally supporting people charged with taking part in the deadly Jan. 6 riot, the U.S. Source
  • Lawyer charged in probe of Trump-Russia investigation

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The prosecutor tasked with examining the U.S. government's investigation into Russian election interference charged a prominent cybersecurity lawyer on Thursday with making a false statement to the FBI. The case against the attorney, Michael Sussmann, is just the second prosecution brought by special counsel John Durham in two-and-a-half years of work. Source
  • Florida surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths after especially deadly summer fuelled by delta variant

    World News CBC News
    Florida surpassed 50,000 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began, health officials reported Thursday, with more than one-fourth of those succumbing this summer as the state battled a fierce surge in infections fuelled by the delta variant. Source