Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/12/05 at 10:44 AM ET
In a dressing room at the Brampton Centre, members of the United Arab Emirates national hockey team are kneeling on the floor, praying. Their jerseys are laid out beneath them, doubling as prayer rugs. Quietly, the men perform the ritual all Muslims are required to complete five times a day. Afterward, they pick up their jerseys and assemble their equipment, almost all of it ordered over the Internet because it isn't sold back home. These dozen or so men make up possibly the only team of its kind in the Arab world. At home, they are at best the subject of occasional curiosity from their soccer-mad fellow citizens. In Canada, most find it hard to believe a desert country even has a hockey team. But it does, and tonight the members are playing the most exciting game of their lives.
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