Chinese Hockey Team "Over Their Head" at Beijing 2022
Legendary ice hockey coach Dave King has warned that China's men's team is likely to suffer "scary" defeats at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
King, who coached Canada at three Olympics, told Reuters the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) should help the Chinese squad to ensure they were not beaten too heavily.
He claimed the IIHF could reach an agreement with China's opponents so that at "some point in the game they are up so much can you call it off".
China have been drawn with reigning world champions Canada, the United States and Germany in Group A of the men's competition at Beijing 2022.
"When you have host countries that are allowed to automatically qualify this is what you get," King, who has also coached in the National Hockey League, Russia, Sweden and Germany, told Reuters.
"What is very important is to have a plan and stay with it and I don't think the Chinese did a very good job with that, they have been all over the map. To me there is nothing a coach can do at this point, there is no magic wand. It's scary, it really is."
King added: "They are in way over their head for sure. The potential for embarrassment is there. I don't know what you can do. I don't have a solution, but I think the IIHF has to find a way to rectify this."
The Chinese side automatically qualified for Beijing 2022 as hosts, but new IIHF President Luc Tardif raised concerns over the possibility of the home team being comfortably beaten in all of their matches, and the impact that would have on the tournament and the sport as a whole.
The IIHF and the Chinese Ice Hockey Association said they are "working together to schedule two games with the Chinese national team in a joint effort to evaluate the status of the team’s preparations for Beijing 2022".