THE FLYING HOPPERS visit Hong Kong - again!

Published: Sunday, 07 April 2024 Written by Walter Marthaler

Herewith some brief impressions about their latest trip to Hong Kong in November 2023.

They first visited Hong Kong in 1996 as part of an ASIAN TOUR, their very first Flying Hoppers grand tour.

However, in terms of 'only' visiting Hong Kong, they did that 5 times previously, namely in 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

Their last trip in Asia was to Penang (Malaysia) in 2018, after which of course the Covid years did not see them venture to Asia at all.

There was a tentative plan to participate in a tournament in South Korea in early 2023, suggested by Stefan Leuenberger, but sadly that could not be realised due to lack of participating teams. Hence I suggested to Stefan to consider replacing the Korean venture by applying to participate in the 2023 World Masters Hockey Asian Continental Cup, scheduled to be held in HONG KONG in late November 2023.

And gradually but surely that tentative idea became a firm plan and resulted in yet another FLYING HOPPERS TOUR to Hong Kong,

Of course we made the hotel bookings early to secure the best possible prices.

The ladies participating were incorporated into an ALLIANCE side, in which they formed the major part. The men, too, could not compete as 'The Flying Hoppers', but were masquerading as team 'Switzerland'. Being always short on players, we needed help from two local players, namely Pepe and Paul.

However, even given those two additional players, the 'Swiss' side was rather short on players because fewer than expected did in the end participate in this TOUR, with some members dropping out quite late in the planning.

Also, sadly, it was a tournament beset by injuries. In the course of the very first game Willy Arber broke his ankle, so could of course no longer play, but came to watch every game supported the team by cheering them on - a big THANKS to Willy!

And then, during the very last game, Fedor broke a finger, and Coen got badly injured on his shin. This needed urgent medical attention  which was provided by Willy Arber in his hotel room, with Irena and Laura assisting! Amazing.

Luckily both Coen and Laura were able to fly back to Switzerland that very same evening.

Fedor and Willy however were taking it easy and stayed around for the farewell DIM SUM lunch on Irena's birthday on Monday. This was ably organised by Fedor and by Dora, a local Chinese lady who had played  with The Flying Hoppers in the past. All's well that ends well!

The so called Swiss side (despite being extremely short on exchange players) performed very well indeed, producing the following results:

Monday,     20th November    Malaysia versus Switzerland        1 : 2
Tuesday,    21st                   Switzerland versus South Korea    5 : 1
Wednesday,22nd                 Switzerland versus Japan              5 : 0
Friday,        24th                  Singapore versus Switzerland        3 : 3
Saturday,    25th                  Hong Kong versus Switzerland      9 : 2

However, our ladies featuring as ALLIANCE, achieved SILVER MEDALS!

Well deserved, and very pleasing indeed.

I am sure this will all be well documented via the many photos taken by lots of people during those sunshine filled days at the HKFC and on the Happy Valley pitches.

I sincerely hope all Flying Hoppers really enjoyed their stay in Hong Kong this time around once again.

Last, but not least: Many thanks for that splendid Bocuse book - such a nice gift!


PS:  The FLYING HOPPERS were helped a lot by 'locally recruited' hockey players:  An outstanding one was "PEPE" - a South African (real name: Brian Thomas). This Cathay Pacific pilot made sure to be back in town after an early morning flight to be able to play with our team.
Another helper was Paul Wong.
Pepe got a special celebration on one of those eating occasions - well deserved indeed.