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A new country is on the hockey seen and we had the great pleasure of speaking to Pascal Malkoun President & Founder of Hockey Lebanon.

How did Lebanon Hockey Association get started and why did you start this program?
There are a lot of hockey players of Lebanese descent in North America, especially in Montreal, QC, which is where I'm from. The majority of Lebanese people immigrated to new lands in the 80s and early 90s. Since then, the sport of hockey has increasingly grown in popularity amongst the lebanese youth.  We are now in 2015 and I am a little surprised to see that nobody had previously stepped up and formed an association to represent such players. That said, I feel that it's a responsibility of mine, as a Lebanese-Canadian to initiate this and therefore started the Lebanese Hockey Association (Hockey Lebanon) as a first step towards developing a solid hockey program.

What is your Ultimate goal for Lebanon Hockey Association?  
My ultimate goal is to eventually develop the sport of hockey in Lebanon and to give the current and future hockey players of Lebanese descent, whether from Lebanon or abroad, ‎a chance to represent themselves and Lebanon on an international scale. Not many people are able to play for team Canada or team USA, so this gives players of Lebanese origins a chance to stand for something they believe in and feel they feel part of.  Several other associations have been able to give that opportunity to their people. I feel that the Lebanese Hockey Association should be able to do the same.   

Outside of yourself who else is involved in Lebanon Hockey Association?
I have my brother, Christian Malkoun, who has been there to help me out with this process. He's a firm believer in this project and has the same vision as I do. I am however looking for other major believers to jump on this project. Believers ‎who would be doing this for the good of the project and not as much for their personal gain. It would definitely be of great help to find a few of those located in Lebanon so they can be present on the ground.

Are there any ice rinks in Lebanon that you can play ice hockey? 
No rinks currently. Lebanon previously had an ice hockey‎, however that closed down in 2006. I'm not sure as to why this had happened. Hopefully we can have one up and running in the near future with a little help.

Where are players going to come from? 
At this point, these players will mostly come from Canada, the United States and perhaps Europe. This is the case until the hockey program in Lebanon is developed and is able to produce hockey players. At that point, the players would come from everywhere including Lebanon. 

Is Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs Involved with hockey Lebanon, if not are you hoping to get him Involved in the program? 
Nazem Kadri is currently not involved in Hockey Lebanon. We are hoping to approach him once we strengthen the association a little more, like this his influence would be more effective at that point. 

On your website you are selling Lebanon jersey and apparel to help fund hockey programs, Is  their any other funding or sponsorship? 
I strongly feel that it's important to materialize this project and not keep it in the form of an idea if we are to move forward and build this thing up. The creation of Hockey Lebanon jerseys and apparel  allows many to see this vision materialize, including future sponsors. sponsorships is going to be our next step.

You also have a ball hockey program can you talk a little bit about it?  
I've noticed that ball hockey is as popular and even slightly more common amongst Lebanese-Canadians than ice hockey as it is more accessible and has a shorter learning curve given you don't have to know how to skate at all are still able to play. I'm excited about the ball hockey program, given I know many talented players who would love to compete for the association.  I feel this program will be quick to become competitive amongst other countries.

How did you become a hockey fan?
My family arrived in North America in 1987. I grew up playing hockey on the streets as well as on ice as a goaltender, representing Ville St-Laurent. I also grew up watching the Montreal Canadiens and have been a fan ever since I was introduced to the sport. I can honestly say that hockey runs through my blood. 

Who is your favorite player and team?
My favorite player of all time is Steve Yzerman. Always been a team player and a class act. My favorite goalie of all time is Patrick Roy. Also a huge fan of Carey Price.  My favorite team is the Montreal Canadiens and team Canada on the international level of course. 

Please Visit
Hockey Lebanon


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