12042015Sun

Last updateSun, 12 Apr 2015 12pm

#Balmy: India's Ice Hockey team crownd-funds trip to international tourney...in Kuwait

Here’s something we bet you didn’t know – India has an Ice Hockey team. 

Not only that, they have just completed a successful crowd-funding campaign to raise money for a trip to the Ice Hockey Federation Challenge Cup in balmy Kuwait later this month.

The team had needed the paltry sum of £3800 for the trip (paltry because that’s the kind of money that the average North American Ice Hockey pro earns for just skating on to the ice) after each of the players had already put up the princely sum of £200.

The government didn’t step in because it only funds events such as the Olympics or the Asian Games.

Desperate for the funds, the Ice Hockey Association of India (IHAI) tweeted last week: “We demand our share of love, because be it cricket or ice hockey, the association of tricolour shall be respected everywhere #SupportIceHockey,”

The message was latched on to by no less a figure that Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group, who threw his support behind the initiative. 

Within a week, the full amount had been raised although it’s not known how much Mr Mahindra – who is worth nearly £900 million – put in.

The IHAI has long-lamented the lack of support for a sport that was only formally registered as a national sport in 2002.  That lack of support is perhaps unsurprising given that the sport is largely played in the chillier parts of northern India.

The Indian team has been playing in international tournaments since 2009 but travelling to such competitions has meant dipping into players’ earnings.

Akshay Kumar, director of the IHAI, told the BBC: "The government tells us 'win us a medal, then we will give you funds'. It's a chicken and egg situation."

But the Association believes its successful crowd-funding initiative and Social Media buzz suggests that that egg will land sooner rather than later.

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