NHL great Chris Chelios’ son is playing for China at the Olympics, though you won’t see the Chelios name on the roster.
Like other foreign-born athletes representing China at the Beijing Games, Jake Chelios will play under a Chinese name. In any official Olympic context, he will be Jieke Kailiaosi.
When I first heard about this story I thought it must have been either exaggerated, or through marriage. As in, these White Players have Chinese wives, so they get citizenship. Then, because they’re professional hockey players, they instantly become the best hockey players in China, and get to represent them. But that’s not what happened.
“My new name? I love it. It’s cool. It’s part of the experience. Since I’ve been over here, everything’s kind of new for me, and that’s the exciting part about playing overseas,” Chelios said at Saturday’s practice. “I know two or three words (in Chinese), but I took six years of Spanish in high school. I couldn’t even learn that, so I didn’t even try.”
Guy reminds me of a lot of guys I played hockey with. I can practically hear him say that.
Former NHL goaltender Jeremy Smith — who has his new name, Jieruimi Shimisi, written across his mask in Chinese characters — saw a move to China as a way to rejuvenate his career after 10 games with the Colorado Avalanche in 2017 and time with numerous farm teams.
In 2019, he signed with Kunlun Red Star, a Chinese-owned club playing in the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League, as one of several North Americans who gave the team an experienced core and mentored Chinese players. Last year, he was asked if he would consider playing for the Chinese national team too.
Jeremy Smith also has no Chinese heritage. He is not married to a Chinese woman. Instead he just played hockey in China for a while. I personally think it’s pretty hilarious how China is building this mercenary army to win at Olympic hockey. If there was ever a year to do it, this is the year, what with (((Gary Bettman))) not letting NHL players go play in the Olympics.
Honestly, even with these guys, Russia is the heavy favourite. They have by far the best players who stay in Russia versus going to the NHL. Adding some ECHL goaltenders isn’t going to do much to help China win gold, although they may pick up a game here or there.
The naturalized athletes come from a variety of origins. Unlike Chelios, many of them have Chinese heritage and see the 2022 Games as a way to strengthen a connection to their family origins. The most famous is Eileen Gu, on the Olympic program as Gu Ailing, a freestyle skier who has said she chose to represent China because she thought she could have a bigger impact as a role model.
Eileen Gu isn’t even 100% Chinese. She’s half White, and yet she chooses to represent China in freestyle skiing, and wins Olympic Gold. This is fantastic for us, since it shows what an absolute joke the United States is as a country. Everybody knows that a “multicultural,” country is nothing more than an worthless economic zone, and I’m almost as happy for Eileen winning gold as I was for the Taliban defeating ZOG militarily.