Winter in Canada can be tough. There’s a lot of cold, a lot of snow, and it can get super, super dark. However, there’s one thing that carries most Canadians through the worst of the winter season, and that’s hockey! In fact, Canada’s ice is so impressive that this Irish hockey team in Canada travelled 4,500 miles and paid hundreds of pounds, just to experience skating on it.

Imagine a long, dark winter, with literally no ice to skate on either! That is the reality for The Flying Ducks hockey team from Ireland, who have travelled all the way to Vancouver to simply skate on some proper ice.

In the team’s home country of Ireland, there’s not a single rink that the team can make use of year-round, not even in the harshest of winters. In fact, there are such limited amenities for the team to use, they practice hockey by wearing rollerblades!

So, in order to actually learn to play the game properly, the young team has to make regular international trips to play on actual hockey rinks. This time, the team has travelled approximately 4,500 miles to Canada, to experience skating on some of the world’s best ice rinks.

One 17-year-old hockey player told CBC News, "We have, like, pop-up rinks at Christmas. There are mainly two ... One of them is square, with no round edge, nothing. The other has old hockey boards, but it's kind of smaller."

Occasionally, the players have to make the trip from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland to find any sort of ice, but usually, they simply play in-line hockey using rollerblades.

Another player told CBC News, "When we came over here we weren't used to offsides, because we don't use them in in-line, But we want to be an ice hockey team; we don't want to be an in-line team."

To pay for their expensive trips to find ice, the team is expected to fundraise. They regularly collect books, bag groceries in stores for donations, or do chores for extra cash. “We have to fundraise … every weekend,” one player told CBC News.

Despite the cost, the Flying Ducks seem to be having a great time on Vancouver’s ice. The team’s Facebook page is being updated daily to share the activities that they’ve been doing, and it seems that the coach just can’t keep them off the ice.

If the young hockey team weren’t already having a great week, they were also given the opportunity to cheer the Vancouver Canucks onto the ice during their game against the Florida Panthers on Monday.

A team-member told CBC News, “Be grateful for what you have [in Canada], because I mean, we would do anything to have an ice hockey rink."

It might get cold, dark, wet and miserable in winter, but at least we’ll always have hockey!

There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


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