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Nearly 3,000 expat and local ice hockey fans were at the indoor ice rink in Pudong to watch the game between Team Canada and Team World. All of the players were non-professionals living in Shanghai.

Many Canadians say ice hockey is a unifying force in their country. From coast to coast, it touches the lives of Canadians young and old.

"I started when I was five years old, actually just started to skate in my hometown," said Canadian Jean Pierre Grimard. "I've been playing ever since. So it's been like 33 years now."

"My dad played it, right? So you know your parents play it and you get into it," said fellow Canadian Keith Mitchell. "It's fun that you know early morning you are on the ice."

Ice hockey is a fast-paced physical sport and is most popular in Canada and northern parts of the United States and Europe. It's a northern sport in China as well, in areas where there are many outdoor ice rinks  because of the cold climate. But some expats and former Chinese athletes are promoting the sport here and in other South China cities.

"I think it's good that you have for example some of your former Olympic athletes like Yang Yang and others who are active in the community and who are encouraging people to put on some skates, get on the ice," said Canada's consul general Rick Savone. "And after a while, you find that it's really not that hard to start pushing the puck around."

Former Olympic short-track speed skating medalist Yang Yang founded the ice sports center where the match was played. She says that while Shanghai has many ice rinks, most are not professional when it comes to size, ice quality and safety.
"For those who want to make progress, we have basic and advanced classes like ice skating, ice hockey, figure skating and speed skating. Besides, the rink is also open to the public," she said.

Organizers say they will have more ice hockey games here and introduce the sport to more local and international schools. Currently, there are only about 10 ice hockey clubs and only two professional ice rinks in the city.

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