Andong Song became the first Chinese-born player to be selected in the NHL Draft when the New York Islanders chose him Saturday in the sixth round (No. 172).
The 6-foot, 161-pound defenseman, who plays at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, had three goals and seven assists in 26 games.
Song was born in Beijing and began playing hockey as a youth. But it was not easy. There was only two public skating rinks in the entire city. He often would skate on a speed skating oval, but he instantly fell in love with hockey.
His family moved to Oakville, Ontario when he was 10, partially because of his love of hockey. Then relocated to New Jersey soon there after.
Though he has been in North America for half of his life, he skates for the Chinese national team. He has twice played in the IIHF Division B World Championships. This year Song captained the team to a 5th place finish in the tournament which also included Serbia, Romania, Spain, Belgium and Australia.
Chinese hockey fans are taking note. A Chinese television crew has been following his journey.
“Hopefully, what I want to do is to really drive people behind me,” said Song, proudly sporting a New York Islanders sweater. “I’m really not focused on myself; I’m really trying to do something good for Chinese hockey.”
Here is a full breakdown of the 2015 NHL draft by birthplace:
United States 55
Czech Republic 11