China in for Olympic hockey in spite of worries

China will participate in the men’s hockey competition at the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing after initial worries that the team would be humiliated on home ice against NHL-level competition.

The International Ice Hockey Federation affirmed China’s cooperation Tuesday, keeping away from what might have been an exceptional expulsion of a host country’s team for performance reasons. The IIHF spent recent weeks reviewing players’ qualification to represent China.

Players making up the Chinese national team played two late test games against Russian adversaries with international authorities observing intently. The team, playing as Kontinental Hockey League club Kunlun Red Star, lost 4-1 to Avangard Omsk and 5-4 in overtime to Amur Khabarovsk, getting outshot 77-43 in the two games combined.

Kunlun coach Ivano Zanatta said the games were proof his team meets Olympic standards.

“Definitely not second to a Norway or a Denmark or Latvia. We’re equal to those countries,” Zanatta said then. “Today and the last game they proved they have the character and the ability and they have the right to participate in their own Olympics.”

The IIHF concurred, despite the fact that Kunlun has lost 29 of 36 KHL games this season and China is ranked 32nd in the world.

The expectation is that an influx of international players permits China to not get extinguished in group play games against the U.S., Canada and Germany. Driving scorers Spencer Foo and Brandon Yip and top defenseman Ryan Sproul are Canadian, and beginning goaltender Jeremy Smith is American, however there is still some vulnerability concerning who will be qualified to play in Beijing.

The IIHF permits players to naturalize and represent a country on the off chance that they’ve played there for somewhere around two years. It’s not satisfactory on the off chance that there were qualification worries for some naturalized players on the grounds that the pandemic constrained Kunlun out of China to a Moscow suburb in mid 2020. Competitors are needed to be residents of a country to take part in the Olympics.

Subsequent to being awarded the 2022 Olympics in 2015, China recruited big-name coaches from overseas and invested in a youth academy fully intent on developing a homegrown team in time. That failed, yet China will in any case get to play on home ice in February.

The consideration currently goes to NHL participation, which was consented to with the admonition that the league and Players’ Association could pull out in case pandemic conditions decline. In case a lot of NHL games are delayed for Covid related reasons, pulling out is a choice on the grounds that the 2 1/2-week Olympic break would be required for rescheduling purposes.