Canadian Firm, 2022 Group Helps Launch Winter Festival in Beijing

Canadian Firm, 2022 Group Helps Launch Winter Festival in Beijing

2022 Group was on hand on Wednesday for the opening of the Winter Festival in Beijing (相约 2022 冰雪文化节). 2022 Group assisted in the organization of this winter festival and cultural exchange as precursor to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing along with the Canadian Government as well as several Chinese state-owned organizations. 

The 2022 Group was created to provide assistance to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) in the lead up to the 2022 Winter Olympics. Principles of 2022 Group include Linan Eden, Graham Lee and John Furlong.

The Winter Festival is a two-month festival that is being held throughout Beijing. To celebrate the game of hockey, an outdoor Olympic size hockey rink has been constructed in the heart of all sports in China. Named as the Ice Cube, the rink is nestled between the Water Cube and Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, where Olympic icons Michael Phelps swam his way to eight gold medals and sprinter Usain Bolt set three world records during the 2008 Summer Olympics respectively. 

2022 Group brought two Canadian hockey teams to China to compete in the festival. The Delta Wild Hockey Academy sent their Bantam Varsity team and were joined by delegates from GSL Group who are part owners of the academy.  The British Columbia based Wild, are in China to play in exhibition games at the festival versus teams from Beijing, Shanghai, Qiqihar, Harbin, Chengdu and Shenzhen. 

“It was beautiful blue sky and the perfect temperature for outdoor hockey in between two of the most iconic sports buildings in the world today,” 2022 Group President & CEO Graham Lee said. “Even with some recent political events, sport has such a unique way to break through any cultural and political differences and direct focus on what is important, goodwill and respectful competitiveness between young athletes just doing their best.

“There was to be a Canadian cultural display. Unfortunately, it has been put on hold until the further notice while the respective governments along with the United States look for a resolution to the issues at hand.” Lee continued. “The good news is that the hockey went ahead as scheduled letting the youth, who were oblivious to the political issues, be more focused on playing outdoors and dealing with sunshine and glare off the ice.” 

The Sunshine Coast Minor Hockey Association was also represented in Beijin as the Under-12 Sunshine Coast Blues participated in the tournament. In February of this year, a team from Qiqihar, China travelled to the Sunshine Coast to participate in a tournament in Sechelt, BC. The exchange was an initiative setup by 2022 Group. Both the Wild and the Blues would play their games at the outdoor rink in Beijing.   

The opening game of the festival saw the Wild skate to a 5-2 victory over the host team from Beijing, but the experience for the team from Delta went beyond their greatest expectations.

“I would like to thank, all involved, for an experience of a lifetime,” Wild head coach Tim Preston said. “On behalf of the coaches, players and parents this has been a wonderful hockey memory that will never be forgotten. The hospitality and organization of the event have been first class.”

“The rink has been placed in one of the most amazing settings. We have been very impressed with the hockey competition. The opposition was very strong, especially the team from Beijing. We are honoured to have experienced the culture of China. We have enjoyed seeing some of the most incredible sights on earth. Thank you again to the Chinese Ice Hockey Association, Graham Lee and the team of people who worked hard to make this magnificent event a reality."

The importance of this festival and the beauty of China were not lost on the players from Delta. 

“We are very impressed with how important hockey is to the Chinese people.” team captain Kai Clayton said. “They built an outdoor rink in a stunning location just for our tournament. The trip to the Great Wall of China was just awesome. This was an amazing trip for us.”