Thailand hockey game to aid
Four area skaters are organizing a weekend
charity game in Bangkok.
By PATRICK MALONEY -- London Free Press
Four hockey-loving locals now living in Thailand are raising money --
and attracting attention from the NHL -- with a charity game they'll play
in Bangkok this weekend. The three Strathroy natives and one Londoner
-- the self-styled Middlesex Connection on the Flying Farangs of the recreational
Thai-World Hockey League -- hope to raise thousands for the Thai Red Cross's
tsunami relief from players' entry fees and a National Hockey League donation.
"We all feel like we're residents of Thailand," said Londoner
Jason White, a teacher. "We're all doing our own things (to help)
and we figured we should do what we do best." The disaster that rocked
the country hit Strathroy native Jeff Lamantia harder than any of his
Lamantia, who teaches in Phuket, was on his way to the beach Boxing Day
when a woman ran to his car, screaming in broken English.
It's a beautiful area, Lamantia said via e-mail this week. And in only
a few hours it was levelled. "She was yelling 'Water, water, big
water,'" Lamantia recalled. "Shivers still run up my spine when
I talk about it. I had just enough time to reverse out of harm's way."
With NHL support already secured, Lamantia hopes hockey-starved North
Americans will send donations through the team's website, leaguelineup.com/twhl.
The Thai-World Hockey League (TWHL) is made up of four teams. But this
game, which happens at 6 a.m. London time tomorrow, will be Canada against
the world, with the Canucks taking on the league's Swedish, Finnish and
American players. Hockey and helping out -- what could be more Canadian?
"With no NHL action this season we are hoping that this charity game
will get some people's attention back home," he said.
Former UWO hockey player Greg Smyth, whose brother Brad is a former London
Knight and NHLer, is paying to rent the rink in a Bangkok mall.
While the Middlesex Connection is borrowing Canada's game to help affected
Thai residents, White says there's no way the country's pain can be translated
to North America.
"Everyone knew someone (affected)," said White, who lost one
student -- the Thai king's grandson -- in the tsunami. "We figured
(this game) was the least we could do as hockey players."