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

  • Republicans to meet with intelligence officials on Russia probe

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - House and Senate lawmakers are set to meet with top intelligence officials as U.S. President Donald Trump raises new suspicions about the federal investigation into his 2016 campaign. In recent days, Trump has been zeroing in on and sometimes embellishing reports that a longtime U.S. Source
  • North Korea slams 'ignorant' Pence remarks, threatens to scrap summit

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO - North Korea has renewed its threat to pull out of a summit next month with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying it is just as ready to meet in a nuclear confrontation as at the negotiating table. Source
  • Two killed after train plows into truck stopped on tracks in Italy

    World News CTV News
    ROME - A regional train plowed into a big-rig truck stopped on the tracks outside the northern Italian city of Turin late Wednesday, killing at least two people and injuring 18, authorities said. Rescuers worked through the night to make sure no passengers were trapped in the wreckage. Source
  • FBI works to thwart major cyberattack on Ukraine

    World News CTV News
    LONDON - The FBI has put a spoke in the wheel of a major Russian digital disruption operation potentially aimed at causing havoc in Ukraine, evidence pieced together from researchers, Ukrainian officials and U.S. court documents indicates. Source
  • North Korea renews threat to quit summit with Trump

    World News CBC News
    North Korea has renewed its threat to pull out of a summit next month with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying it is just as ready to meet in a nuclear confrontation as at the negotiating table. Source
  • 2,000 people forced from homes as 51 fires rage across Manitoba

    Canada News CTV News
    More than 2,000 people have been forced from their homes, at least 600 from the Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi First Nations, as dozens of wildfires blaze through Manitoba. There are 51 fires currently active in the province. Source
  • U.S. launches national security probe of vehicle imports

    World News CBC News
    The Trump administration on Wednesday launched a national security investigation into car and truck imports that could lead to new U.S. tariffs similar to those imposed on imported steel and aluminum in March. The Commerce Department said the probe under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 would investigate whether vehicle and parts imports were threatening the industry's health and ability to research and develop new, advanced technologies. Source
  • Calgary family says landlord refusing to renew lease over crying baby

    Canada News CTV News
    A Calgary family says they’re being told to move out of their rental home once their lease ends due to a pair of noise complaints stemming from their crying baby. Mukesh Khanal says his landlord is refusing to renew his lease because he’s gotten two noise complaints in the past six months -- both at times when his two-year-old daughter was particularly sick and crying. Source
  • Iraq says suicide bomber kills 7 in northern Baghdad park

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- A suicide bomber blew himself up late Wednesday at a crowded park in Iraq's capital, killing at least seven people in the first such attack in Baghdad since the start a week ago of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, security officials said. Source
  • North Korea calls Pence remarks 'ignorant,' willing to scrap summit

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO -- North Korea said Thursday recent comments by U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence were "stupid" and "ignorant" and again warned it was willing to pull out of a planned summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. Source