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Hockey finds fans in the Arab world

Emirati and Kuwaiti officials watch a hockey match between Oman and Kuwait in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on May 31, 2012.
Emirati and Kuwaiti officials watch a hockey match between Oman and Kuwait in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on May 31, 2012.

Photo and Text by Kamran Jebreili / AP

Ice hockey would seem a tough sell in the Gulf, where temperatures routinely reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit for half the year and sand dunes far outnumber indoor ice rinks, but a growing number of Emirati men and women are taking to the ice. Emiratis are inspired to take up the sport by an introduction to NHL games on cable television and the novelty of playing a winter sport in a desert region.