By Wong Jeng Teng
For the first time in SEA Games history, the regional meet will include winter sports this August, and our TeamSG Ice Hockey team has set their sights on securing a medal in Kuala Lumpur, according to team captain Eugene Ang.
L to R: Eugene Ang (captain), Michael Loh and Daniel Chew
Winter sports have certainly come a long way in Singapore. Eugene revealed that opportunities to pursue ice hockey were limited when he first joined the national team at 21, as the country’s only Olympic-sized ice-skating rink then had shut down in 2009.It was only four years later, when The Rink at JCube opened its doors to the public, that the national ice hockey teams were able to get back into action.
With only one suitable training facility for all the local winter sports athletes, Eugene and his team typically train at odd timings – starting as late as 10.45pm on Tuesdays, and midnight on Saturdays. “Because we only have one rink, one Olympic-sized rink in Singapore, and we have to share [it] with speed skaters, and figure skaters, not forgetting the public skaters [as well],” the 29-year-old said.
They spend days off the ice building their strength and cardio, including a circuit training programme every Wednesday during their physical training session. “Every Wednesday after I’m done with my training, I can hardly walk up the stairs! It’s a good 45 minutes to an hour’s workout,” he shared.
Other than training, Eugene and his team have also been trying to maximise their game time, taking part in local league matches, as well as two overseas competitions this year – the Asian Winter Games and the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Challenge Cup of Asia.
“Because we are a team, we have to know each other’s playing style, and the kind of skating abilities we have, and get used to it [in order] to make the right passes from one to another,” he said.
In every ice hockey game, each team has six players on the ice: the goalie, left and right defenders, the centre, as well as the left and right wingers (forwards).
“This SEA Games, I’ll most likely be playing the centre,” said Eugene. “I’ll have to go up and down [the rink]. The centre man is [like] the third defender and the third winger,” he shared. When asked on his expectations come August, Eugene spoke confidently of our team’s chances: “I’m sure of a medal position, but [we’re definitely] aiming for a gold.”
“80% of the team has been [together for] four years, [and] 20% are the new blood. This [year] is probably one of the strongest teams that we’ve ever had,” said the captain.
Eugene (in black) against Thailand
Our TeamSG Ice Hockey team is ready for a stunning debut at the 29th SEA Games, so be sure to back them up when they get on the ice! Remember to follow our Team Singapore Facebook page for the latest news and updates from all our athletes!
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