Misha Song, recently drafted by the New York Islanders, took up hockey at the advice of a doctor at home in China who thought that the cold air would cure a nagging cough. Similarly, Tora Liu was a chubby child looking for ways to exercise indoors, away from the summer heat.
According to this New York Times article, those kids and others started out on small rinks, like the one inside the China World Mall or a crude sheet built in a decommissioned war bunker. The boys used discounted hockey gear that their parents had collected during business trips abroad. With no one to teach them how to suit up, the boys at first wore their hockey socks inside kneepads to keep their legs warm.
Today, says the Times, those boys have graduated from their curious beginnings to New England preparatory schools and top junior programs in North America, getting ready for the chance to display the evolution of Chinese hockey at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.