At the fifth floor in a huge shopping mall right in the centre of the hot metropolis Bangkok you find a sports centre with the floor covered in ice. Meet two Scandinavians who love to swing the hockey stick in Thailand.
Sunday night around 70 people are at the viewing stands, most of them middle-aged sweaty men watching the ice hockey players at the venue and waiting for when it is their time to swing the hockey stick on the ice. And after the game it is time for a cold Heineken beer.
Loud pop music from the speakers fills the sports centre, together with the voices of Canandian, American, Scandinavian, and Thai hockey players. The big match this night is between the Flying Farangs and D’Pelicans. One of the players this night is Finnish Jouni Heinonen.
Finnish world star
Jouni Heinonen has lived in Thailand for four and half years. He has own clothing company, JHFashion, which manufacture working clothing and uniforms.
The products are sold mainly in Scandinavia, United States and Thailand. His company has made work uniforms for both Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Sheraton Hotels.
Jouni Heinonen has played ice hockey from since he was a child, he actually played at the highest junior level in Finland. Later on he also played in Belgium and Germany when he moved for jobs there. Now in Thailand he would like to play a lot more than he actually does but his job is just to busy:
“I really love to play and here it is very nice when it is so hot outside. Many of my friends are quite surprised when I tell them we play ice hockey here,” he says and continues:
“And actually I think there is a lot of Scandinavians here who wants to play but do not know that it is possible, and that is a pity.”
Stabilizing roads and playing hockey
Another Viking on the ice this night is Swedish David Blomqvist, also called Boomer between friends. David Blomqvist has lived in Thailand for five and a half years. He came to Thailand with a Swedish company in road construction, but three years ago he started his own company in the same line of business. The company is called Speed Track Soil Mixing and the main job is road stabilizing.
In Sweden David Blomqvist started his ice hockey career as 6 year old and it went on for 21 years, then he had a break for several years but now hi is back on the ice – in Bangkok, and it means a lot to him:
“Ice hockey means a lot to me, because everyone I know here I know from ice hockey. And if I go out in the weekend it is always with these guys,” he says.
Hockey in Thailand
There is 4 teams in the Thai World Hockey League. David Blomqvist and Jouni Heinonen both play for the team called the Flying Farangs. The team is open for everyone local or foreigner.
“We practice every Wednesday night and everyone is welcome to join. And the first couple of times you can borrow some gear from some the guys – so that you can get a felling of what it is like,” says Jouni Heinonen and continues:
“We play at the Big C Imperial World Samrong. Every taxi driver knows the place so just come and have a look.”
D’Pelicans versus the Flying Farangs
This night is a good for both the Swede and the Finn. First Boomer passes Jouni who scores.
“Normally the Swedish guys scores and the Finnish guys passes them – but tonight it is different,” Jouni comments with a laugh. But with a few minutes left Jouni passes Boomer and the Swede also gets the puck in to the net. The match ends 6-1 in favour of the Flying Scandinavians.
Read more about the ice hockey and the Flying Farangs.
Ice Hockey in The City of Angels