China’s rise in ice hockey will be quick, says Czech great Jágr

By Lu Wenao Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/28 22:06:37

Photo: Lu Wenao/GT

Czech ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr said China's rise in the sport will be quick, as he was named the ambassador of China's ice hockey.

"It's going to take time and it's not easy to get better right away, but the Chinese people are very disciplined," Jágr told the Global Times after being appointed to the role on Sunday. 

"With a hard-working altitude, you can get ­better very quickly."

Since Beijing won the 2022 Winter Olympics bid, the popularity of winter sports has risen without the national teams delivering medals at major competitions. 

Compared to China's dominance in the Summer Olympic Games, many Chinese national winter sports athletes are far from the world's best.

Jágr, who played in multiple NHL All-Star games, believes that the 2022 Winter Games will boost the popularity of ice hockey in China, which may help China find future stars. 

In China's ice hockey, the women's national team has achieved better results than the men's team, finishing fourth at world championships in 1994 and 1997. The men's best result was 15th in 1982.

"We already did some hockey school teaching with the Chinese young girls, practicing with my coaches for three months," Jágr said. 

"They like it and they look forward to continue that kind to work together to get to a higher level."

For a small country like the Czech Republic with a population around 10 million, ice hockey is one of their strongest sports. 

Its men's national hockey team has won the world title six times plus an Olympic gold medal in 1998. 

Some Czech coaches have been with the ­German team for decades, which contributed to Germany's stunning performance at a NHL-stars-absent Winter Olympics in 2018, where they came second to Russia.

"Teachers are very important. When kids go to school without good teachers, they are not going to learn anything. But with good teachers all the students learn very quickly," Jágr said. 


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