Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Red Star Has Landed

As we had discussed with Tyler Fines on The Hockey Show on Thursday, there were rumours that the Kunlun squad was looking to send some of its younger players over to North America to participate in leagues here and in the United States. As you can see to the left, Kunlun Red Star's logo is now prominently featured on the doors to Rink 2. The question is where are these doors and which Kunlun teams are playing behind them? Those answers can be found below, but it should be noted that the Kunlun teams in question will be playing in one city and not touring the country on a cross-continent exhibition series.

The rink pictured above can be found at Chesswood Arena in North York, Ontario. According to reports, Kunlun Red Star is basing their U20 and U18 teams at this rink for play in leagues at the arena. There were no mentions whether this meant there would be four teams playing out of the rink - one men's team and one women's team for each age group - but one would hope that the Red Star management group would see the value of sending both the men and women over to play.

While the Red Star have officially moved in after getting some window dressings installed, I'm curious as to who they will be playing. There are midget teams based out of the Chesswood Arena in the Toronto Aeros and the Toronto Red Wings so there will be competition on-hand if the KRS U20 men's team needs some opposition, but I didn't see any women's leagues listed. There may indeed be a woman's league that plays there, but they aren't listed on the Chesswood Arena site. Nonetheless, we do know that the Red Star have landed in North America, and they're getting themselves ready for hockey action this winter!

China certainly is going all-in for 2022 with these developments, and they will officially add more players to the fold when the CWHL Draft goes tomorrow. I can't say whether this plan will work on such a short timetable, but China seems to be going for broke in an attempt to win a medal on home ice in Beijing. They're certainly doing all they can to prepare for their Winter Olympics, but is there enough time?

Getting their younger players into North American leagues with four years to go before the puck is dropped in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is a smart move for exposing their younger players to some of the best minor-league hockey North America has to offer. You just hope they won't be overwhelmed by this experience.

Big stick-tap to for the photos!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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