DUBAI // The crew of the US aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan, on a routine port visit to the city, enjoyed an impromptu game of ice hockey yesterday against a team of local players. The friendly contest attracted a crowd of about 300 spectators at the Olympic-size rink in Dubai Mall. Capt KJ Norton said it was the first game the crew had played since the ship left its San Diego base in May, and the first on foreign soil.
"The whole crew were really excited about the game," he said. "We play in local leagues back home, but this was an unexpected treat for them all. "Onboard we are restricted to exercise on treadmills and exercise bikes, and I think that showed as we were a little rusty out there. "It was a fun occasion and a chance for my crew to meet some of their countrymen and play a sport they love." Maurice Obuya, 30, a local ice hockey fan, said the game came as a surprise to shoppers.
"It was great to see people take a break from shopping to watch the match," Mr Obuya said. "It is a fast-paced and exciting sport and is gaining in popularity in the UAE. "It is great for locally based expatriates to play host to a team from America." The game saw the hosts, a team of players from the Dubai Mighty Camels, the Al Ain Vipers and the Abu Dhabi Scorpions, emerge with a 12-0 victory. The USS Ronald Reagan also has a basketball and softball team.