While the rest of China prepares for the 2022 Beijing Olympics, one elderly man in the northern city of Tianjin has been focusing on his own winter games at home by building a small ice hockey rink directly on his terrace.
Zhang Baoqi, aged 66, started building the ice rink over six months ago, before his city went under lockdown due to an outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Press TV. The idea for the rink came to him about a year ago, as he hoped to share his passion for ice hockey with his grandson.
A video of the two playing the sport together on his terrace caught the attention of Chinese social media users.
“Putting some milk in the water makes the ice more resilient and tougher to break,” he explained his process via China’s state-run network CGTN. Pouring the mixture down required experimentation of different timings to ensure the surface would be level when fully hardened. He also made sure to soundproof and water-proof his ice rink so as to not disturb his neighbors.
But after figuring it out, he quickly called over his family to surprise them with the new installation.
“I came and saw the ice rink. I wanted to show it to my friends. It’s amazing. I can play here whenever I want,” said Zhang’s grandson Cheng Zhuo.
“I was quite excited,” his daughter Zhang Miaoxuan said. “The ice rink was not only made of ice, but also my parents’ love.”
Zhang’s love for ice hockey developed decades ago, with him joining a local team at age 16. Unable to coordinate the time to play together, the team soon broke apart. And over 20 years later, Zhang said he was reunited with his old coach, who asked whether he’d been keeping up with the sport.
“I then thought since Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is coming up soon, I have to pick it up again,” he said.