The first players from China and India have been drafted into the NHL and NBA.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Song Andong was drafted this weekend by the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League. The NHL hopes Andong can do for hockey what Yao Ming did for basketball.
Earlier in the week, the Dallas Mavericks drafted Satnam Singh in the second round as the 52nd player in the NBA draft. The Christian Science Monitor reports the 7’2″ inch player is from Punjab, India.
“I’m over the moon,” Singh said to Indian news channel NDTV. “I hope this opens new avenues for many more Indian basketball players in the future.”
Singh follows in the footsteps of Canadian-born Sim Bhullar who last season became the first player of Indian origin to play in the NBA.
The Islanders drafted Andong in the 6th round of the NHL draft. The news comes at an ideal time for China which is bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympic games.
“We’re looking forward to being part of that history in China,” Garth Snow, the Islanders’ general manager, told CCTV America. “We’re excited about Andong and what he can bring to our team and obviously the game being introduced to people who aren’t normally able to watch it.”
You can learn more about Andong and the popularity of hockey in China in the clip below from CCTV and in the Wall Street Journal.
You can read more about how Singh’s star has risen in the Christian Science Monitor.