Islanders' draft pick Andong Song an ambassador for Beijing's Winter Olympic bid
The first Chinese-born player to be drafted into the NHL is now working to help bring his country its first Winter Olympic Games.
Andong Song, the 18-year-old chosen 172nd overall by the New York Islanders in June, is working as an ambassador to help champion Beijing's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
"It's a dream for any athlete to compete in Olympics, and it's a special honor to be able to do it in your country and the city you grow up," Song said via CCTV.com. "So when I first heard the idea that China will put in a bid, especially Beijing, I was really excited and I felt I have the opportunity."
A veteran with his country's U18 offering, Song has a strong understanding of what it will take for China to arrive at the world stage.
"We have a lot of time to strengthen our skills. We are not strong as the hockey powerhouses right now, but I think in seven years, if we can improve some of the basic structure of our Chinese hockey and if we put our mind toward it, we can achieve great things and hopefully we can compete with the (other) powerhouses."
The NHL's participation at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang and beyond remains uncertain.