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UAE ice-hockey team find US trip ‘just amazing’
February 10, 2018
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WASHINGTON: A visit by the UAE women’s ice-hockey team to the US capital for a programme of activities with the US Capitals men’s team is attracting attention from the media and from US fans.

A headline on a Washington Post feature late yesterday read simply: “When UAE women’s hockey team visits Capitals, ‘it’s just amazing.’

The Capitals are a top-ranking team in the US National Hockey League, NHL. “Through a confluence of chance meetings, corporate partnerships, NHL social-outreach initiatives and the sheer power of a great story to transcend borders and cultures, the 17 members of the UAE team traveled 7,000 miles this week to see what their sport looks like at its ultimate level, to tell the world what it looks like from their own humble vantage point and perhaps to bridge the vast gap between the two,” the Washington Post reported. “The team, which spent Thursday at the Capitals’ training headquarters, will participate in the ceremonial puck-drop at Capital One Arena before Friday night’s game and will continue on to appearances in Chicago and Ottawa next week.”

“We’re hockey players somewhere in the middle of the desert,” the report quoted Mariam Al Ameri as saying. Mariam, who plays on the right wing for the UAE team, and who studied in Canada, another country where ice-hockey is a popular sport, went on to say: “And not only that we’re women playing hockey. So it makes me so proud that women from my country are setting a goal of becoming hockey players and are not only achieving it but are getting something as great as this out of it.”

For the UAE players, the visit provides an opportunity not only to meet some of the world’s top players, but also to practice with and learn from them. Comments in the Washington Post story reflect some of that excitement, with Mariam Al Ameri being quoted as saying: “If you’d told me when I started that I’d be sitting here talking to you and watching the Capitals practice, and getting on the ice with them, I would’ve called you a liar.”

WAM

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