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.
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"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."
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.
"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.
"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.
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.
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