Member story: Alex from ThailandIn its 10th season, Eurolanche introduces its members thru the regular weekly series "Member stories".
Bangkok, Thailand is the City of Angels in the Land of Smiles. It is a city built in a jungle. It’s not a place you’d expect sheets of ice. Yet they are here. Not many, though. And most of them aren’t good quality. But they are good enough to skate on. And for many expats and locals alike that’s enough for hockey.
Moving to Bangkok from a small town in Wyoming, USA, there was a good deal of culture shock. The weather was opposite to that which Alex Manton, 44, was accustomed to. Instead of long winters, he now has no winter at all. The food, the language, and the customs are absolutely foreign. But hockey is one constant, a touchstone of normalcy for an overheated “farang”.
As a youth, hockey was at best an occasional interest, half-heartedly checking the standings for the Hartford Whalers. Even during the six years he lived in Colorado, he only followed the Colorado Flames and the Colorado Rockies very loosely. After a stint in the USMC (United States Marine Corps), during which he utterly failed to go see Wayne Gretzky as a LA King while stationed in southern California, he decided to attend university in Wyoming. This got him back into the cold, but still not back into hockey. “I saw the Avs win the Cup in 1996 on TV. I didn’t even realize Colorado had an NHL team until that game,” he says, speaking of his first introduction to Avalanche hockey.
Then he met his wife. At the time, she lived in Denver, was a huge sports fan and was responsible for renewing his interest in hockey. And she got him hooked on the Colorado Avalanche. In relating what drew him to the Avs, he says: “I fell in love with the power game of Peter Forsberg, the snap wrister of Joe Sakic, the attitude and disappearing five hole of Patrick Roy. The epic battles with Detroit and Dallas in the playoffs were irresistible, a must-see.”
And his interest in hockey grew beyond only watching. In 2005, he decided to try playing with a few friends that had a weekly drop-in hockey game. His first attempt was in goal and did not go well. That’s why he bought forward gear and hasn’t looked back. He can honestly say that he is an international player, having played in tournaments on multiple continents. And he has been lucky enough to have skated with players of all abilities, from 4-year-old kids just learning to skate, to active and retired NHL players.
Now, his main hockey activity is organizing, as he’s the administrator for a new league here in Bangkok, the Siam Hockey League, which began its inaugural season on November 6th 2016. The league is replacing the Thai World Hockey League, which he played in and loved, but which was cancelled due to the owner not having enough time to run it. He also helps to organize two large international tournaments. Both have teams from all over the world. The upcoming tournament has 40 teams signed up, and the rosters include players from at least 22 nations.
Alex has been a Eurolanche member for about two years, as soon as he found out about the fan club welcoming non-Euro members. “I think it’s an awesome concept, which is executed very well. The trips, the players contacts, the events throughout the year are fun to read about and I hope to be able to take part in the future, as long as our next posting is closer,” Alex concluded.
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14/11/2016 - 17:00