Skating school teaches Chinese students how to play Canada's national sport

A new skating school is teaching P.E.I.'s Chinese community how to skate and play hockey.

Kinetic Intelligent Inc. runs skating and hockey programs geared towards Chinese newcomers

Eight-year-olds Max Yin Du (left) and Leon Ling are just two of several students at Kinetic Intelligent Inc. skating school that's looking to teach Chinese newcomers how to skate and play hockey. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

A new skating school is teaching P.E.I.'s Chinese community how to skate and play hockey. 

Rona Yang is the owner of Kinetic Intelligent Inc. She moved here from Beijing last year and has been running skating and hockey programs since January.

"There are many newcomer children on P.E.I. They do not understand their new environment but they are very interested in [learning] skating," she said on why she started the business.

Yang said she also wanted to create a space for the local Chinese community and bridge the language barriers that many of them face.

"KZ school has been a communication source and a new environment that they feel they can return to," said Yang. "I hope many children will be able to … learn to skate."

NHL aspirations

12-year-old Yueging Wang is currently enrolled in the skating program.

She said she was excited to learn how to skate after moving to P.E.I. from Shanghai three months ago.

Rona Yang, owner of Kinetic Intelligent Inc., says many newcomer children are interested in learning to skate. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"In China … not a lot of ice. Here, I want to learn it because I can't do that [back home]," she said. "It's interesting and I can skate on the ice. I feel it's good"

Eight-year-olds Max Yin Du and Leon Ling are both in the hockey program and have aspirations of playing the sport professionally some day.  

"I want to keep playing and become a part of the NHL," said Yin Du.

Ling, who is originally from Hong Kong, said he'd like to play for the CHL and is so far enjoying the program.

"I like puck controlling," he said.

Helping to find potential

Students enrolled range from five to 15 years of age. They are mostly Chinese, but Yang said anyone is welcome.

Tony Tong, president of Kinetic Intelligent Inc, said the programs are also a way to satisfy growing interest for skating and hockey in the Chinese community.

Students at Kinetic Intelligent Inc. range from five to fifteen years of age, mostly from the Chinese community, but Yang says she hopes local children sign up for programs as well. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"Actually, after these two sessions, we find some of them quite talent and they may have the chance to play hockey as a profession," he said.

Tong said the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Bejing, are also driving interest in ice sports.

Bringing Chinese athletes to P.E.I.

As part of the growing demand for skating and hockey back home, Yang and Tong said they're looking to arrange an exchange program for athletes in China.

"Most of the school[s] in Beijing, they are going to set up their hockey teams but it's lack of good coach and training so that's why we think we can do something for them," said Tong.

Family members watch their kids learning to skate. Yang says she hopes her programs will provide a comfortable environment for the Chinese community on P.E.I. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Yang has hired local coaches to help teach the programs and hopes to one day become an official skating school with Skate Canada.

For now, Yang and Tong said they want to keep growing a love for ice skating and hockey for other Chinese newcomers, and bridge the gap between the rest of Canada.

"I hope the children from China will love the ice sport and find their potential," said Tong.