Connor McDavid may do more in China in the future than just represent a company selling it’s products in the country. He may be playing games in Beijing or Shanghai soon.
It is no secret that the National Hockey League has been looking at establishing some sort of base in China for a long time. Former New York Islanders majority owner Charles Wang, who was born in the country, has sent child age level hockey players to compete against teams in China and has hosted small groups of Chinese children’s teams to play and see the cultural sights of the New York City area. The San Jose Sharks organization has expressed some interest in expanding the game in China. One of Wang’s final acts as the Islanders majority owner was to draft Song Andong who was the first player born in China ever taken by a team in the annual NHL grab bag. Song Andong was the 162th player taken in the 2015 draft but spent the latter part of his childhood in Canada. He was the captain of the China under 18 squad that appeared in international tournaments. Hockey is growing, albeit at a slow pace, in China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Macau. The 2018 Winter Olympics will be played in South Korea.
The NHL has decided China is important because the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing and China has decided to build a national hockey program. The NHL’s deputy commissioner Bill Daly will be in China later this month to see what China is planning to do to build a hockey program. But the NHL probably has data anyway, one of the owners of the Los Angeles Kings Phil Anschutz has been working with the National Basketball Association in building basketball facilities for years. Some NBA owners also own NHL teams and now the China sports market rather well.
Finland and the United States Olympic Hockey Teams will be part of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.