SPORTS

India's ice hockey team crowdsourcing funds for tournament

04/09/2015 11:18 EDT | Updated 06/09/2015 05:59 EDT
Yes, India has a national ice hockey team.

And they're currently crowdsourcing funds to go to a tournament in Kuwait being held April 18-24.

Using the Twitter hashtag  #SupportIceHockey as well as a donation site, the team hopes to compete in the IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia Division I. The tournament is Asia's second-tier competition and will pit the team against Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore and host country Kuwait.

The Indian team has collected half of their target goal of 2 million rupees ($40,530). 

In cricket-crazy India, cricket stars earns millions. While other sports depend largely on government funding, the cash-strapped Ice Hockey Association of India doesn't receive any. Each member of the ice hockey team had to contribute 20,000 rupees ($405) to the cause.

That's where social media and crowd funding have come into play. Adam Sherlip, the team's head coach, has been very active promoting the team and his foundation helps grow the sport in the country.

The story of the team's fundraising efforts aired on India's NDTV, and something remarkable occurred mid-broadcast.

Mastan Adam, who was watching the segment, called in and agreed to financially support the team. At the time, the funding was still short by 700,000 rupees ($14,185).

Adam studied in the United States and became a hockey fan during his schooling. Though he did not state the amount, Adam agreed to cover whatever the team required and wants his contribution to be "a stepping stone" for the team.

The team is comprised of young soldiers, policemen and students. Most of the players are from the Ladakh region in the Indian Himalayas.

Players from this region were featured in a short documentary in 2014.

The documentary follows 20-year old Chamba Tsetan's career and focuses on how hockey became popular in the area.

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