Chinese Pro Women’s Hockey Team Makes Stop In Anchorage For Exhibition Game

By Stephan Wiebe
Alaska Dispatch News, Anchorage

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Hockey Player Zoe Hickel shares her journey as she breaks barriers from Alaska to Shenzhen, China where she now plays on the country’s 1st pro team.

Alaska Dispatch News, Anchorage

When two-time world champion Zoe Hickel arrived in Shenzhen, China, about six months ago to join that country’s first professional women’s hockey team, she didn’t know what to expect.

The Anchorage woman had to adjust to players who were new to playing at a high level, she had to get used to exotic foods like chicken feet and cow stomach, and she had to overcome a language barrier both on the ice and in her day-to-day activities.

It was a culture shock at first, but Hickel has settled in nicely.

Fast-forward to January, and Hickel’s Kunlun Red Star team is tied for the points lead in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and making a stop in Anchorage for an exhibition game against a makeshift Alaska team.

The Kunlun Red Star, a team formed this season with 10 players from the Chinese national team and 10 from North America, will play a team made up of former college and pro players, both men and women. The game is set for 1 p.m. Friday at the Subway Sports Centre.

“It was just an idea we had because we were supposed to be in Toronto for about three weeks … but then we didn’t have games this weekend,” Hickel said. “We just wanted to make sure we had a game where everyone could play, and it’s fun for the community and fun for us.”

Hickel played boys hockey at East High before going on to play college hockey at Minnesota-Duluth and for the U.S. national team that won world championships in 2015 and 2016.

Her pro career took her to the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League in 2015 and to the Kunlun Red Star last summer.

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