Offbeat April 15, 2015

Gambhir's generosity rescues Indian ice hockey

ESPNcricinfo staff
Not many are aware that India even has a Ice Hockey team, but Gautam Gambhir is, and he has taken it as a "moral responsibility" to support the sport, donating Rs 4 lakh to the cash-stripped Ice Hockey Association of India

His team might have been temporarily frozen by a Gayle-storm on Saturday, but Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir's warmth and kindness has not wavered even the slightest.

Not many are aware that India even has a Ice Hockey team, but Gambhir is, and he has taken it as a "moral responsibility" to support the sport. The Ice Hockey Association of India (IHAI) had made a desperate call for support to fund the national team's participation in the IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup in Kuwait from April 18, and Gambhir immediately obliged, donating Rs 4 lakh to help the cash-stripped federation.

"It's the last thing to happen for a sportsperson that he cannot represent his country for the lack of funds. It's the worst thing. After all, they will be called Team India irrespective of the sport they represent," Gambhir told PTI before handing over a cheque to India's Ice Hockey captain Tsewang Gyaltson.

"For any sportsman, it's a great privilege to support any other sport, especially ice hockey which is not really popular in India. Hope they do well with this support and bring laurels to the country.

"I always wanted to support a fellow sportsman, whichever sport it is. I always felt supporting a small sport is always good. You need people to support small sports so that it becomes popular in future as well. I hope ice hockey can become really popular as well. It's a great sport, it's the quickest sport. We don't know much about it because it's winter-oriented sport. But it's great fun. It's so fast."

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