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  • China Dragon?

    Posted by simon c on 2009 August 31日 Monday

    It’s almost certain that the San Jose Sharks have pulled out of their venture in China with the China Sharks, the only Chinese entry in the Asia Legue. First, in a recent IIHF article, it was announced that China has hired Belarussian Andrei Kovalev to coach both the national team and the Chinese Asia League team (doesn’t say Sharks).

    China hired former Belarusian national player Andrei Kovalev as its new head coach. He signed a contract through April 2010.

    The 43-year-old has plenty of international experience as a player. Kovalev played in eight World Championships and two Olympics with Belarus. He also won U20 gold with the Soviets. He played for Dynamo Minsk and Dynamo Moscow in the Russian and Soviet league before a two-year stint in North America in the AHL and other minor leagues, and 13 years in Germany. He ended his playing career in 2007 with Yunost Minsk.

    After retiring, he worked with Yunost before becoming the assistant coach of HK Vitebsk.

    Kovalev will be assisted by Chinese coaches and he will also be the head coach of the Chinese team in the Asian League. The club is located in a new 8,000-seat arena in Shanghai and it’s the strongest club team in the country.

    Then in the Blades-Bucks preseason games over the weekend, apparently people were given pamphlets for the upcoming Asia League season with a team named “China Dragon”.

    Removal of Sharks personnel (especially coach) from the Chinese team, and the addition of Kovalev definitely indicates a change in direction away from the Sharks, but with the China team’s opening game quickly approaching on 24 September, they’ll have to get their act together in a hurry. And it looks like yet another year where top level Chinese hockey is changing directions with no clear long term plan.

    22 Responses to “China Dragon?”

    1. Shawn said

      Hmmm, the Dragons? Not against the change but why do they always have to make changes right before the season starts anyway? Just hope they win a few games this year. Nobody wants a doormat.

    2. Francois Lemay said

      Sharks are out of China already…wow. So quickly and after all that talk about supporting Chinese hockey and blablabla…I give the Asian League two more seaosn, that’s it, unfortunately…

    3. whitewater said

      looks like they are heading back to Harbin

    4. Francois Lemay said

      Dragons are?

    5. Whitewater, where did you get the info that they’re heading back to Harbin? The IIHF article (which is not always up to date) seems to indicate that the team’s staying in Shanghai.

      Francois, Hosa => China Sharks => China Dragon, essentially the same team except for different imports and coaching staff. Yeah, it’s a shame about the Sharks (most likely) pulling out of China after seemingly making all those long term commitments, maybe they’re blaming the economy?😛

    6. Francois Lemay said

      My opinion is that it’ll be hard to get good quality imports if they’re going back to Harbin…I’ve been to Harbin and you know like me Harbin ain’t Shanghai!!! The Sharks pulling back really pisses me off though…too many people and/or companies promise this and that and then leave…Simon, are you worried for the future of pro hockey in Asia???

    7. The league and Japanese and Korean hockey can survive with the remaining 6 teams (if the Chinese entry into the AL disappears in the near future), but Chinese hockey will suffer from it.

    8. Francois Lemay said

      I’ve heard not good things from Oji though…they’re tired of losing money. And if Oji pulls out, Cranes would too. Any truth to that? hopefully we,ll see an increase in attendance this year…
      As for chinese hockey, let’s be honest, it’s always been a disaster!!! They can’t even update a website…

    9. Oji (and Nippon Paper?) seems to have survived their recent stockholders meeting, so they’re secure for this season, though they’ve both scaled back on the budget by bringing in less imports.

    10. BCiDC said

      Hey, you, SJ Sharkes was simply pushed out of the project – have you ever seen that Americans left any their project themselves? Never! This Belarus coach is just the cheapest option. And you know that the team played badly … ugly even with imports … so wait for their games without imports.
      Just do not judge about SJ Sharks. That was not their choice.

    11. BCiDC said

      And yes, Mr. Lemay, you are right – Chineese hockey is just a complete disaster. But how could they update China Sharks website if they are not Sharks any more.
      And they had rather poor website even with Americans (their mistake), so imagine how it will look this year.
      Anyway waiting for open game!!!

    12. Let’s be civil.

      Anyways, with the way Chinese hockey changes directions every season (ie. a mess) that wouldn’t be surprising either (China going for the cheapest option). There’s a lot of truth to be uncovered here, which will most likely not see the light of the day.

    13. BCiDC said

      Exactly … and I’m civil … I just know Belarus (you know that it is not most well to do country), so try to hire Belarus and American specialist – you will see difference in price (I didn’t say the quality).

    14. BCiDC said

      and the last note from me – you know that the sponsorship is the core of any team. And do you know any sponsors who will invest in unknown names & team particulary at our not easy times.

      • Francois Lemay said

        I’d like to see some big corporation step up and invest some money…and God knows how many of those (big corporations) in China!!!

        • RORI said

          Yes, they might invest in China hockey if 1)they trust the team 20 they see any immediate benifit 3) their communist party will force them to do it – which is most likely.
          And I strongly believe that China Dragon (sounds like a Chinese restourant somewhere in Chinatown) will get enough funds to play somehow and even sign cheap imports (from Belarus or Uzbelistan or somewhere else from surviving USSR republics).

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