LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team has embarked on a two-week trip to China that will see the Spartans participate in a winter sports festival, as well as play a variety of games in both Beijing and Tianjin as part of a goodwill celebration tour to honour TWU’s 25-year anniversary of working with universities in China.


The team departed for China on Tuesday and begin its journey home Jan. 9.


The tour, which is a partnership between TWU and Athletes in Action, is the latest in a series of goodwill trips that has seen the Spartans send a variety of teams to China over the last few years, including the men’s and women’s volleyball teams and the men’s basketball team.


The winter sports festival, which will be hosted in Chengde, will feature about 50 teams from Europe and Asia competing in three sporting events, including ice hockey, inline hockey and bandy, which is an 11-on-11 variation of ice hockey that is played on a soccer-sized ice surface and uses a ball instead of a puck.


“This is an absolute trip of a lifetime,” said Spartans coach Barret Kropf. “The experience will certainly be one of a kind. The hockey should be really good and we can’t wait to take in all the opportunities that await us. This is also a fantastic chance for TWU to continue to build itself within China and, with the Winter Olympics coming to Beijing in 2022, hockey is certainly a growing sport in the country.


“The trip is also a chance for our team to bond together in a really unique way and I’m sure it’ll help us springboard into the second half of the season.”