Chinese actor Wu Jing appointed ice hockey ambassador, named 'ice wolf' by fans
Published: Feb 10, 2022 09:58 PM
Chinese martial artist Wu Jing receives GT's exclusive interview in Beijing on Sunday. Photo: Qu Qiuyan/GT

Chinese martial artist Wu Jing receives GT's exclusive interview in Beijing on Sunday. Photo: Qu Qiuyan/GT

The Chinese superstar Wu Jing, actor and director of the blockbuster Wolf Warrior series and known for his tough, patriotic image and humorous personality, has got a new title as he was appointed ambassador for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) amid thrilling races at the ongoing 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Luc Tardif, president of the IIHF, announced the news on Thursday. The organization is aiming to promote the sport, especially in China, and it has been taking advantage of the Winter Olympic Games being held in Asia. 

They have also set up a multilingual social networking platform in Chinese and Russian for sports fans to understand the game and learn about its culture, so that more young people can be attracted to participate in ice hockey. 

"We hope that Wu will help us in developing this sport, using his influence to call on more Chinese fans to cheer for the national team and their performances," Tardif said. 

Wu thanked Tardif for his invitation, noting that winter sports are growing strongly in China. "There is teamwork and skill in hockey games, just like our ancient cavalries with piking skills," the actor said. He expressed his hope for more children and families to participate in ice hockey, wishing Team China all the best luck in the Winter Olympic Games. 

The news soon attracted netizens' attention on China's social media platforms, with fans nicknaming him the "ice wolf," and saying that Wu must have been chosen because of his tough image in movies and being an icon for patriotism in China. 

Wu became a hit among Chinese audiences after the patriotic movie Wolf Warrior 1 took cinemas by storm in 2015. He became the performer with the highest-ever personal box office in Chinese movie history as of November 2021, with the total box office of movies he had participated in exceeding 23 billion yuan ($3.6 billion).  

In the past five years, three movies Wu starred in, namely The Battle at the Lake Changjin, Wolf Warrior 2 and The Wandering Earth, ranked first, second and fifth in the domestic movie box office, according to media reports. 

Ice hockey has been developing in China recently as part of an initiative to get 300 million Chinese people to participate in ice and snow sports. 

"There is a huge amount of talented young kids here in China. In fact, I would say that many young Chinese kids I have seen would be able to compete with kids from any other country. The difference for kids outside of China kicks in around the age of 10 with league structures and programs that they can play with and train with until their senior years," Mike Beharrell, a Canadian-Swedish ice hockey coach at Galaxy Club in Beijing, who has been teaching the sport to young Chinese for four years, told the Global Times in an interview. 

"Hockey is an amazing sport that has fans all around the world. I have been fortunate to travel to many places and see it played almost everywhere. The best part of the game of hockey is the community and connection that unites people around the world," he said.