From Beijing to Washington and then to Boston, O.R.G. cooperated with Want Want to assist the Beijing Teenager Club’s ice hockey league, and hosted two hockey winter camps in Boston and Washington together with the NHL’s top teams. In the past winter, O.R.G. was a bit “busy”. Especially, the successes of Washington Capitals Winter Camp and Boston Bruins Winter Camp had ignited the unprecedented dream of minor hockey players like a fire in winter, and created a wonderful movement for the burgeoning Chinese minor hockey sports.
From January 23 to February 2, 2017, although the 13-day Washington Capitals Winter Camp and the 11-day Boston Bruins Winter Camp were held for a short time, for the minor hockey players who were carefully selected from Zhongguancun No.2 and No. 3 Primary Schools by the major hockey clubs in Beijing, they had a particularly colorful life in the winter training camp. In addition to hockey training, interactive lectures and competition exchanges with American minor hockey players for improvement of their skills, they also watched the team training, interacted with NHL stars, and appeared at O.R.G. NHL China Night, and visited local attractions to broaden horizon… In order to make Chinese minor hockey players deepen their understanding of hockey sports and culture under the strong North American hockey cultural context and in the extraordinary experience of NHL top-level arenas, enhance their love and confidence in hockey sports for themselves, and open a new hockey dream journey, O.R.G. did everything possible to create all opportunities and conditions.
Looking back the intense and fulfilling schedule of the two winter camps, whether it was the full devotion of minor hockey players to the training and competition field, or the tireless efforts of the Chinese and American coaches; whether it was the earnest instructions of legendary stars, or the close attention paid by teachers, students, coaches and team members of minor hockey players, or the silent efforts made by parents and staff, all these lively faces made the O.R.G. hockey dream-seeking tour glimmer sparkling.
- Hockey Training — Masters gathered together, held hands with superstars, and realized dream in the winter camp
One is the six founding teams of the NHL League with nearly a hundred years of history and one is the most popular championship newcomer in the league, super stars gathered in The Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. For minor hockey players, the excitement of landing hockey giants was not only because NHL was the world's top professional hockey league, but also because there were favorite stars or a role model. Many minor hockey players dreamed of being able to contacted these stars personally. As Einstein said, “Interest is the best teacher!” Sliding, ball control, passing, shooting, competition... When these seemingly rigid training subjects were embedded in the concept of “Happy hockey”, the training enthusiasm of Chinese minor hockey players was activated to the maximum degree!
It’s no exaggeration to describe the life in two American winter camps as “Two Points & One Line”. After all, the most important “task” of the minor hockey players was to follow the instructions from top hockey coaches of the two teams and learn the hockey skills. During most of the camp’s life, the campers shuttled between the encampment and the Kettler Capitals Iceplex or Warrior Ice Arena, developing from the initial curiosity to gradual habits and to the final reluctance to leave. Perhaps only they themselves could know such a complex feeling.
Although the short-term centralized training did not bring quick changes to their hockey skills, the minor hockey players, in Kettler Capitals and Boston Bruins NHL teams with the perfect minor training system, could experience the completely different training mode and even experience both tiredness and happiness from the interactive teaching style.
Looking back the two winter camps’ hockey training, both Washington Capitals Winter Camp’s coaching team led by Director of Kettler Capitals - Dan Jablonic and Boston Bruins Winter Camp’s coaching team led by Manager of Boston Bruins Youth Training - Mike Dargin had tailored systematic detailed daily training programs for Chinese minor hockey players long before the camp. These coaches with many years of experience in minor players training not only hoped that the campers would master the hockey skills and techniques in the centralized training cycle, but also hoped to plant a growing seed in the young hearts of the campers and let them redefine the sport under the guidance of the “Happy Hockey” concept and then enjoy it.
Therefore, regardless of Washington Camp or Boston Camp, each time of hockey training was a sea of joy and excitement. The sound of the bat, the friction of the knife and the ice, the cheering sound, the shouting sound, laughter, coach instructions sounds… were heard above the ice fields every day. We had to sigh the “experienced” coaches of the winter camps, because they knew how to make the training subjects fun and interesting, and they often became “Funny Men” to play with the campers. It also allowed the campers who were intoxicated to directly forget the heavy training every day.
In addition to the fixed minor training coaching team that carefully guided the training of the minors on the ice every day, the most important thing in the hockey training of Washington Camp and Boston Camp was that the minor hockey players who had hockey dreams could watch the training of top teams and interact with the super stars on the ice. Also, multiple legendary stars from the two teams appeared on the ice rink and guided the hockey training of minors one-on-one. As they watched the Washington Capitals’ training, minor hockey players from No.2 and No.3 Primary Schools kept shouting the names of “God of War” - Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie. Their eyes were firmly fixed on the fast-sliding stars, enjoying the fun of interacting with the stars on the ice and receiving on-the-spot instruction from goalkeeper Braden Holtby. At the same time, they watched the training of Boston Bruins.
When seeing the debuts of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask, the minor hockey players carefully selected by Beijing Hockey Association immediately got excited and shouted “Look, Marchand! Pastrnak!…” Those minors actively interacted with the stars and took group photos. When these “Super Stars”, once watched only on TV or on the Internet, suddenly appeared in front of them and played hockey with them, only they themselves could understand the happiness and sweetness of this moment!
While Washington Capitals’ three giants - Paul Mulvey, Alan May and Peter Bondra took turns to coach the campers, the Boston Bruins also sent seven legendary stars - Jay Pandolfo, Hal Gill, Andrew Raycroft, Tommy Songin, Andrew Alberts, Bob Sweeney and Rick Middleton for personal training. The arrival of these legendary superstars not only produced an unprecedented training enthusiasm for the campers, but they also brought practical combat skills to the campers on the ice.
- Let's take a look at what the campers from two winter camp had gained from hockey training?
I had made great progress during the training in this winter camp. The coaches were very detailed in explaining, and the peers worked so hard. After the end of the 11-day winter camp, I found that my shooting strength increased, and the proficiency of ball control increased a lot. In addition to my personal improvements, this winter camp had also improved our overall team strength. I believe that we would definitely win the championship in the future.
——Chen Zi’ang, Camper of Washington Capitals Winter Camp
During the training in Boston Bruins these days, I was deeply impressed by the importance the coach attached to the basic skills of sliding. In the short 50 minutes, at least the first 20 minutes were for sliding practice, including various forward sliding, backsliding, pressing and other actions. The coaches were very strict about how far apart the legs were, how high the hips were, how high the chin was, and so on, and the coach would give us demonstrations and corrections. In the group rotation training, there must also be a professional sliding coach to perform the training again. In fact, if you really did what the coach wanted, it was particularly very tiring!
——Huang Shaoyan, Camper of Boston Bruins Winter Camp
“My sliding and passing skills had improved. I felt very happy to receive training here. The coaches had excellent skills and strict requirements, which I liked very much. If there is any similar meaningful event in the future, I will also participate in it.”
——Xu Huarui, Camper of Washington Capitals Winter Camp
The coach took us to slide, bypassed obstacles, passed the ball, shot... I obviously felt my progress, with greater amplitude, larger angle of inclination and faster speed. Hard work pays off. The regular practice worked. What I liked the most was that we played a lot of small games on the ice, bringing us a lot of joys. The coach came to catch us, and every one ran as fast as possible to avoid being caught. The expressions in the photo were really terrible. This was such a really tired link that I couldn’t breathe. I was tired but happy.
——Wu Yutong, Camper of Boston Bruins Winter Camp
“My hockey skills had been improved. When I first went to the ice, I felt many teammates were better than me and I couldn’t catch up. I was very anxious. When I returned to the room at night, my mother told me, “Everyone has different starting points. But you’re the best as long as you work hard and make progress!” Under the careful guidance of Coach Huang and four foreign coaches, I had improved a lot. I also knew that knees, heads, passes and poles should be placed on the ice. More importantly, the understanding of hockey was deepened. The goalkeeper means half a team so that we couldn’t blame each other.
——Lu Haotian, Camper of Washington Capitals Winter Camp
- Off-ice Training - Dream-seeking campers gained a lot from rich training sessions
In addition to the daily hockey training session, the off-ice content arrangement can be described as colorful. Opening ceremony, professional lectures, physical test and training, legendary stars’ experience sharing, visits of team locker rooms... The design of diversified interactive content not only helped the campers master the scientific physical training methods, but also allowed them to gain valuable practical experience in the experience sharing of legendary superstars, and experienced the cultural connotation and heritage of the top NHL team through the “mirror” of the team’s locker room.
Let’s look at Washington Capitals Winter Camp first. O.R.G. and the team not only held a welcoming ceremony for the campers on the first day, but also sent small gifts such as signature star cards to the campers in the next day of training or lunch. This little surprise that happened every day had become the happiest moment for minors.
If these small scenes brought surprises to campers, then Dan Jablonic, Director of Washington Camp Kettler Capitals as well as three Kettler Capitals legendary stars - Paul Mulvey, Alan May, and Peter Bondra to witness shared their stories in an off-ice manner, which made the campers increase their knowledge of hockey. Professor Dan Jablonic’s How to Better Protect Yourself as well as three other legendary superstars. As a result, the campers listened with gusto and benefited a lot.
Then let’s look at Boston Bruins Winter Camp. The video teaching of Boston Bruins’ Assistant Coach - Joe Sacco helped the campers gain a deeper understanding of Boston Bruins, learn about the NHL history and culture, and participate in the signing up ceremony. Besides, the campers receive professional physical fitness tests at the well-equipped Warrior Ice Arena, interacted with the legendary star - Hal Gill, and went to the Bubble Stadium in the world’s top university - Harvard University for physical training... With an excellent minor training system, the Boston Bruins not only made full use of the modern sound and optoelectronics technology to help campers fully understand the NHL history and the team culture, but also helped campers to recognize the indicators of their physical fitness through the scientific system of physical fitness testing and targeted physical training methods, in order to improve training more reasonably. After all, the high-speed hockey competition could be greatly energy-consuming.
As people who were familiar with sports and clubs knew, the best choice for understanding a team and team culture is not in the training ground or in the stadium but in the team’s locker room. Since the winter camp was held at NHL’s top team, visiting the team’s locker room had become a necessary subject in off-ice training. Under the introduction of the relevant team personnel, the campers had a comprehensive understanding of the anecdotes that had occurred in the locker room, and took photos in front of the favorite stars. The great happiness of dream coming into reality surrounded every camper.
Although the two camps made different off-ice training arrangements, it was undeniable that O.R.G. and the two teams were extremely thoughtful regarding the diversity of contents and forms. The purpose was to let the campers see, learn, think and act more, and gain a lot by coordination with the learning of on-ice skills.
- Game Exchanges - Chinese and foreign minors grew up in discussion and concluded friendship in communication
Landed in the real NHL stadium and competed with the American junior hockey team. Learned from others’ strengths to offset weakness in competitions, and made friendships in exchanges. The extraordinary game experience was destined to remain in the hearts of young people forever.
When the Chinese and American minors competed fiercely on the court, parents watching the game on the sidelines or through the activity group in the country were much more nervous than usual. The changing situation on the field is affecting their hearts. This scene was commonplace during the two winter camps of the O.R.G. hockey dream-seeking tour in 2017.
Compared with the Chinese minor hockey sports environment, the American minor hockey players with stronger hockey sports atmosphere, growth environment and better training and competition system could be described as “well-informed”. Therefore, in the O.R.G.’s hockey dream-seeking journey, the Sino-US minor hockey players’ exchange competition had become an important feature section. The competition allowed Chinese and American minor hockey players to enhance their understanding and friendship and to learn from each other and accumulate practical experience. The competition was a bridge for both Chinese and American minor hockey players.
During the total 20-day life of Washington Capitals Winter Camp and Boston Bruins Winter Camp, there were seven exchanges and competitions between Chinese and American minors. Among them, the Washington Capitals Winter Camp campers competed against the junior team from Kettler Capitals, while the Boston Bruins Winter Camp campers competed against the U10 women’s team from the Boston Jr Eagles club and the 2007/2008 elite men’s team.
During the first-ever Washington Capitals Winter Camp, the Chinese and American minor hockey players conducted a total of four competition games. If the first two games were a small test, the third game with U10 Group of Kettler Capitals Tripple A under the personal instruction of Coach Dan Jablonic could be definitely regarded as a classic unforgettable battle. By virtue of good passing and shooting skills, the strong Kettler Capitals U10 team dominated the game from the very beginning, and had leading scores. Despite this, the Chinese minor hockey players from Zhongguancun No. 2 and No. 3 Primary Schools were not discouraged, and finally equalized step by step at the end of game. This thrilling score chase finally ended with a 4:4 score. However, the gift exchanges between the Chinese and American minors well interpreted the sentence of “We’re opponents on the court yet friends off the court”. The Chinese and American minors had concluded a transnational friendship through hockey.
Let’s look at the Boston Bruins Winter Camp. Although due to a sudden snowstorm hit in Boston, one of the established four Sino-US hockey minor games had to be canceled; the men’s teams were confronted with extremely fierce competition in the first two games. Since the campers came from different hockey clubs in Beijing, those who lacked running-in and system tactical training lost 1:6 in the opening game against the Boston Jr Eagles 2007 elite men’s team. The total defeat did not discourage the campers. The timely resumption and summary after the game also made the second confrontation match three days later extremely fierce. From the fall of the first quarter to the 2:2 at the last moment of the second quarter, and then to leading score in the third quarter, and from the draw in the regular time to total victory in the extra time, the Chinese minor hockey players amazed the opponents with a single brilliant feat.
If the first two games of the two winter camps were Mars hitting the Earth, then the last Chinese VS American minor confrontation at the Verizon Centre, home court of Kettler Capitals, or TD Garden, home court of Boston Bruins, completely allowed the Chinese minor hockey players to experience an NHL star treatment. Although there were not many audiences in these two games, they were completely in line with the NHL game format. The campers waited quietly in the player channel, made brilliant appearances at the moment when the live broadcast called out their names, and stood solemnly on the blue line with the teammates upon hearing the national anthem. Every time a goal was scored, the iconic celebration music and screams resounded throughout the audience. The live broadcast of the panoramic game and the playback of the goal were performed on the big screen at the scene……Many people had difficulty in having such an extraordinary game experience in their lifetime. In the words of the coach, maybe many children had only one chance to really stand on the NHL professional field in their lifetime.
Looking back at the Chinese and American minor exchange games during the O.R.G. hockey dream-seeking tour in 2017, the tenacious and hard-working spirit of Chinese minor hockey players not only made the opponents and the coaching team admired, but also kept the accompanying parents and staff very happy. As the saying goes, for minor hockey players, mutual competition was the best way to know about each other in the court. The off-court handshakes and communications were a true portrayal of the minor hockey players’ friendship. They learned from each other and made progress with each other in the game. O.R.G. hopes that campers can accumulate experience and gain growth in these games.
- Horizon Broadening - Felt the journey of hockey history and culture, and broadened horizons
One is the political center of the United States and one is the world city with the most cultural values; Washington, having many museums and cultural historians, Boston, having such famous universities as Harvard and MIT; in the spare time of training in the 2017 O.R.G. hockey dream-seeking tour, the minor hockey players broaden their horizons and add to their knowledge.
For campers, intense training and games accounted for most of the entire winter camp life. In the rare relaxation and leisure time, experiencing the customs of Washington or Boston and the natural historical human landscape was definitely the best choice for the campers to broaden their horizons and add to their knowledge. The two winter camps of the O.R.G. hockey dream-seeking tour in 2017 were arranged according to different city features in Washington and Boston.
Let’s talk about Washington Capitals Winter Camp. As the capital of the United States, Washington not only had world-famous cultural landscapes such as the White House, Capitol Hill, Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, but also had numerous museums and cultural monuments such as the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History. For minors who were in the “curious” season, the travel of these landscapes not only satisfied their exuberant curiosity, but also opened a window for them to discover the world and explore the customs of different countries.
In addition to the travel of the human landscape, O.R.G. hoped that the hockey dream-seeking tour might let the campers fully feel the rich sports atmosphere, and watch the exciting performance of the Mad Truck (Monster Trucks) on the spot; participate in Fantasy China Night created by O.R.G. with NBA Washington Wizards, and watch the games between NBA Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics. Therefore, the campers had a more intuitive understanding of North American sports culture outside of hockey.
Unlike Washington, which is full of humanity, Boston is one of the oldest and most culturally valuable cities in the United States. Besides, Boston is not only the center of higher education in the Northeastern America but also the most educated city in the United States. Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University... Boston, a city with more than 100 universities and 250,000 college students, is not only known as “Athens of the United States” but also a dream hall for millions of thousands of Chinese students.
On the campuses of Harvard University and the MIT, minor hockey players could not only feel the world famous school style and strong academic atmosphere, but also be encouraged to work hard and join them.
More importantly, during the Boston Bruins Winter Camp, the game coincided with Beanpot Tournament - the most famous annual inter-school hockey event in the Boston area of the United States. The tournament, founded in 1952, is the annual hockey event most valued by Boston College (BC), Boston University (BU), Northeastern University (NEU) and Harvard University (HARVARD). The trophy that won this event is definitely something that these four universities are proud of. Therefore, the campers at Boston Bruins Winter Camp were fortunate to watch the preliminaries and finals of the tournament at TD Garden. While witnessing the elegance of famous American universities’ hockey teams, they also got close to their dreams in the field and tried to participate in the game.
In addition, the visit and experience at the New Balance headquarters also allowed campers of the Boston Bruins Winter Camp to witness the perfect application of the latest technology in the field of sports, and a pair of NB shoes that they personally chose also let the campers feel delighted with the life in Boston.
Different cities present different landscapes. In 2017, on the road of the hockey dream-seeking tour, O.R.G. not only spared no effort to create all the conditions and opportunities for minor hockey players to improve their skills, but also helped them discover and explore the world in a variety of theme visits and experiences.
- China Night - Chinese minor hockey players made a brilliant appearance at NHL
When the O.R.G. China Night curtain was slowly opened, there was a high-profile NHL stadium and stunning Chinese minor hockey players. The whole world witnessed their charm, and the minors made their dreams come true in the NHL.
For minor hockey players, NHL means not only the world’s top hockey event and the best hockey athletes but also the dream of their hard-won and strenuous training on the ice rink. Driven by the favorable policies of 300 million people on ice and snow and the construction of “hockey business card” in Beijing, countless Chinese minors, with the support of more and more parents, took the club and set foot on the ice rink to enjoy the “Men’s Sport” which has a positive role in cultivating the will, physique and teamwork spirit.
As a Chinese company that continues to lay out in the hockey sports field, O.R.G. Packaging not only hopes to create a growth environment for Chinese minor hockey players through the “going out” and “bringing in” mode, but also hopes to organize events such as winter camp and NHL China Night, so as to help minor hockey players better understand the hockey sports culture of the world powers, to stimulate their enthusiasm for learning hockey and their love for the sport, and thus to inject a positive energy into their hockey paths.
In keeping with this starting point, during the two major winter camps of the O.R.G. hockey dream-seeking tour in 2017, the theme event “O.R.G. China Night” was designed to make Chinese minor hockey players get close to their NHL dream.
Whether it’s at Verizon Centre, home court of Washington Capitals on the evening of February 1, 2017, or at TD Garden, home court of Boston Bruins on the evening of February 12, 2017, when the curtain of the O.R.G. China Night slowly rose, the two nights of the NHL were transformed into the home court and arena of the Chinese minor hockey players to show their charm.
Those minors attended the press conference before the game and was interviewed by the local TV station; greeted the NHL supers stars in the player lounge, got the stars’ autograph, met the fully armed home team star High Five in the playing channel, and kicked off the game at the central NHL stadium, watched the game at a close position on the players’ bench, and celebrated with the players who scored the goal; greeted the audience from the Chinese dream-seeking minors on the ice-skating car resting on the inter-office; and watched their figures appear repeated on the big screen; appeared in the cheers of the audience to display the charm of Chinese minor hockey players and feel the atmosphere of the NHL stadium and the audience’s enthusiasm for hockey sports…
Chinese minor hockey players made brilliant appearances in different roles and identities in different sessions of the NHL stadium. The extraordinary experience at that moment made dream into reality, and would surely leave an unforgettable memory on their future hockey dream-seeking tour.
In addition, the two O.R.G. China Night NHL games were broadcast live from the well-known NBC Sports to CCTV5+, which also enabled many teachers and students of those minor hockey players to see the moment that their dream came true in the televised footage. According to statistics, due to the live broadcast of the Boston Bruins VS Washington Capitals game on NBC Sports on February 1, the program had won 441,000 viewers, with a rating of 0.14; due to the live broadcast of Montreal Canadiens VS Boston Bruins game on the evening of February 12, the program had won 495,000 viewers, with a rating of 0.15.
In addition to the two games of NBC Sports and CCTV5+ of O.R.G. China Night, during the two winter camps held for O.R.G. Hockey Dream-seeking Tour in 2017, the Chinese minor hockey players also received extensive attention and wide reports from domestic and foreign media.
During the two winter camps, Washington Capitals’ official Twitter, Boston Bruins’ official Twitter, NHL official website and local media in Boston and Washington continued to track the event. In addition to the wide attention of foreign media, the domestic Xinhuanet and CCTV5+ also carried out picture or special video reports on the entire winter camp event.
In addition, throughout the O.R.G. Hockey Winter Camp Dream-seeking Tour, the O.R.G. Sports WeChat public account officially launched two series of winter camp reports from January 4, 2017, including the broadcast of dream-chasing minors, selection of “O.R.G. Dream-chasing Stars”, frontline reports and photo faxes during the two winter camps, diary sharing after the event, selection of “Best Camper”, the wonderful review, article reports over 40,000 words, and the massive information of nearly a thousand wonderful photos. All these enabled more people to get a comprehensive understanding of this event.
The stronger the youngsters are, the more powerful China will be. It has become a consensus among schools, parents and the community at large to create a favorable growth and development environment for minor hockey players, as the successful application of the Beijing Winter Olympics has triggered a domestic “hockey fever”. O.R.G. will also continue to work hard, and constantly integrate international high quality hockey resources, and create more opportunities of “going out” and “bringing in”, so as to tap the potential of excellent Chinese minor hockey players, improve their competitive strength, and contribute to the development of China’s minor hockey sport.
Although the O.R.G. Hockey Dream-seeking Tour in 2017 has come to an end, and minor hockey players has been back on their tracks, return does not mean an end but a new start for these minor hockey players with unlimited dreams! Let us meet at the next O.R.G. Hockey Dream-seeking Tour!