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Former Sun Valley Hockey Player Lays Claim to the Shangley Cup
Wednesday, December 22, 2021


He can’t claim dibs on the Stanley Cup. But a former Wood River Valley kid recently laid claim to The Shangley Cup.

And, with the Beijing Olympics fast approaching, Jeffrey Goldstein has had a courtside view to watch China’s attempts to create a hockey dream team in a short amount of time.

Jeff Goldstein was seven and living in Paris in 1992 when the movie “The Mighty Ducks” came out. Mesmerized by the slap shot, young Goldstein ran around his family’s Paris apartment chasing a tennis ball with a broom.

In 1995 his parents—Bob and Claudie Goldstein—cajoled him into moving to the United States with the promise that he would be able to learn to play hockey. Six months later Jeff had a hockey stick in hand and was playing on rollerblades at a makeshift rink on the pavement where the Wood River YMCA sits today.

Hockey Coach Nappy Neaman took him under his wing, nicknaming him Frenchy, and Jeff was soon playing for the Sun Valleys Suns junior team, playing throughout his youth and high school.

Goldstein moved to Shanghai, China, 10 years ago where he owns Onward Global, an independent contracting practice that helps U.S. brands and retailers manage their supply-chains in Asia.

And there he has been active in growing the Shanghai Hockey Club, which consists of 200-plus expatriates and Chinese players.

China has made large investments the past few years promoting winter sports in its domestic market and attempting to find talent ahead of the Winter Olympics, Goldstein said. So much so, that Goldstein and his team, The Foggy Devils, have to play hockey at 1 in the morning since the government is restricting ice time during prime-time hours to Chinese talent.

But that didn’t prevent Goldstein and his team from winning the Shangley Cup, playing in a league that sports such names as Big Bad Barry Duke’s ice Cocks, the Slovakian-led Dirty Blues Boys and Boston Dan’s Binqiu Beardogs.

They play just as hard as the NHL, cheered on by passive-aggressive wives and others.

“Each year I also help organize a pond hockey tournament at a secret spot below the Great Wall of China,” Goldstein added.

China embarked on a big push to develop ice hockey after winning the Winter Games bid in 2015. During that time the country built 337 new indoor ice rinks, doubling the number of rinks that had existed.

Today there are 9,500-plus hockey players in the country, up from 540 a few years earlier. The country has recruited foreign-born players to join its feeder team, which plays in a Russian league. And it has relied on ex-pats like Goldstein to serve as models for young Chinese learning the ropes.

While Goldstein has been watching China’s attempts to build a hockey team with great interest, he says it appears that they are struggling to put a team together for the Olympics as the players are still not at a high enough level to compete at that level.

In fact, it was only after much discussion that the International Ice Hockey Federation said that it will allow China’s men’s ice hockey team to compete at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games in February, despite concerns that Team China isn’t good enough to compete against Olympic-caliber hockey players.

The Chinese team will likely face ice hockey powerhouses representing Canada, the United States or Germany in the first round.

Goldstein said he will have no problems deciding who to root for should the United States find itself tangling with China.

“Despite being in China 10-plus years, I’m still 100 percent Team USA!” he says.


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