You don’t always have to be sweating when living in the tropics. Sometimes, you can simply drive to the mall and go for a skate. Just like I did this week with about 15 other guys from around KL as part of their weekly pickup game.
While the rink was small (one stride got you from blue line to blue line, which is perfect for my loaf-like game) and the ice was a bit mangled from the humidity and figure skaters, it was a great skate. And for the information of my Kaiser hockey teammates back home, I don’t back check in Malaysia either.
Without showers, dressing rooms or rink gates, the facility is not exactly up to Canadian standards. But, you can order a bucket of KFC from the third floor food court or buy some knock-off Oakley sunglasses in the parking lot. So, there’s that.
It was also fun to have a bunch of curious mall shoppers checking out the action perched above on all five floors. I can just guess at the conversations of the onlookers…
Shopper #1 – “What is this game?”
Shopper #2 – “Ice hockey.”
Shopper #1 – “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of this. When do they start fighting?”
Shopper #2 – “Not sure. They look pretty old and slow. Let’s go get an iced tea and some Kenny Rogers Roasters chicken.” (No joke. KR’s Roasters are a big deal here!)
So, who was playing you ask? Well, a couple guys from the Malaysian national hockey team were out. They were very good skaters, however once they skated by everyone, they weren’t sure exactly what to do with the puck, so they ended up stick-handling right into the corner. A bit more work (apparently they have a Finnish coach, so no job opportunity for me there) and they’ll be beating other powerhouse hockey nations like Taiwan and Papua New Guinea.
The rest of the players were aging Canadians, Americans and Europeans just like me, who had shipped their stinky hockey equipment across the world just to play beer league hockey at 10:30 on a Monday night in the basement of a mall. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.