NHL announces US$33,800 donation for Thailand tsunami charity game

BANKGOK, Thailand (AP)

The National Hockey League came to the aid of tsunami victims in Thailand on Tuesday, announcing a US$33,800 (euro26,000) donation for a charity hockey game put on by Bangkok-based players.

In a game billed as "Canada vs. The World," a team of players from the United States, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Japan and Thailand defeated a Canadian squad 7-6, with the NHL donating US$2,600 (euro2,000) for each goal scored.

"We've played a lot of hockey here for more than 10 years, but this is the team's proudest moment," said Bangkok Flying Farangs defenceman Kevin Hall, who spearheads team fund-raising efforts each year.

"Farang" is the Thai word for "foreigner." Players from the Farangs and the Thai-World Hockey League scrambled to put the event together to aid the Red Cross Thailand's efforts to help thousands of survivors in the country's tsunami-devastated south. A capacity crowd of 700 from all over the world attended Sunday night's game at Bangkok's Central World Plaza rink, and donated an estimated US$5,000 (euro3,800) at the door.

The Opening Faceoff
Check out the crowd!

Vanchalerm "Top" Rattapong
scores one of his three goals on the night

Ryan Haynes of the World Team parks himself in front of Canadian goalie Greg Jones

Five of the Farangs did volunteer work after the Dec. 26 disaster, retrieving bodies, meeting grief-stricken relatives, and helping in the identification process. Goaltender Greg Jones, who was vacationing in the south, and left-winger Jeff Lamantia, who lives there, barely escaped the tsunami with their lives. They sped away in their vehicles as it roared into shore. Thailand's Vanchalerm "Top" Rattapong scored a hat-trick for "The World" team on Sunday. "I heard the NHL was going to donate cash for goals, and I knew what I had to do for my people," said Vanchalerm, who had also volunteered to carry corpses.

Family, friends, and hockey fans in North America and Europe were asked to donate through a bank account set up by the Canadian Embassy. Hall, a Canadian from Nova Scotia, said that with the NHL's contribution and others from back home, the team's should surpass its goal of raising US$50,000 (euro38,300).


Canadians Kevin Hall and Neil Parkin pose for their fans

The Thais on the World Team get into the spirit of the game