Swedish hockey player Johny Oduya leads Bangkok’s Flying Farangs

Currently locked out over revenue sharing dispute between National Hocky Leage owners and players, Swedish professional player Johny Oduya of Chicago Blackhawks took advantage of his spare to lead Bangkok’s Flying Farangs to win the 2012 Land of Smiles Ice Hockey Tournament last week.

Nearly 40 teams from around the world came to the city to be part of the annual tournament that celebrates the sport that has a growing following in the country.

“I wanted to come back to Thailand for a while. It is a big holiday spot for Swedish people to go when it gets colder back home,” Johny told Bangkok Post.

When it comes to hockey it is hard to surprise the six-foot-tall half-Kenyan professional player. He has been playing since childhood and moved to North America to join the junior hockey league in 2000 at 19 years old. By 2006 he was signed on to play with the New Jersey Devils in the NHL.

The defenceman has even played on the Swedish team for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Known for rough and tough playing, Johny said he has seen some real promise from the expats and locals playing.

“That they can reach that skill level is really impressive. I imagine with some coaching and more ice time that they could get really good,” he said.

The rinks themselves have also surprised him.

“The facilities here are unbelievable for being in a mall in a tropical paradise,” he said with a chuckle at the rink at Rama IX.

Johny mentioned that he would also like to work on giving interested kids an opportunity to train abroad. 

“If I have another 10 years in the NHL hopefully after I can come and join them playing here and doing the tournaments here,” he said.

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