China Dragon are official
Posted by simon c on 2009 September 3日 Thursday
Yes, it sounds like a Chinese restaurant, but the Chinese entry in the Asia League has cut off its affliation with the NHL San Jose Sharks after one season, and now will be known as the China Dragon and will split their home games between Harbin and Shanghai (It’s good to see elite hockey back in Harbin on one hand, but this’ll lessen the impact in Shanghai, too bad China can only put together one viable AL squad.) The team is currently training in Harbin, and only has one import, the super veteran 42-year old Igor Andryushchenko who was instrumental in the Belarussian Junost Minsk winning the 2007 European Continental Cup (one level below the European Champions League or its equivalent) along with his then teammate and now China Dragon coach Andrei Kovalev.
The Dragon plan on adding 2 or 3 more imports but they do not intend on maximizing the 7 import slots that they have in order to grow domestic talent. But they will be hard pressed to avoid being a doormat team again without an elite goalie like they had with Wade Flaherty last season. Imports are expected to be Belarussian and Kazakhstani. Though the coach or the Belarussian media still think that the now defunct Seibu Prince Rabbits are the team to beat in the league, so accurate information seems to be hard to come by. Unless the Dragon get an elite goalie, with the traditionally sieve defence of the Chinese, it’ll be a long season, especially with the highly bolstered Bucks lineup to contend with, and the Blades may be no pushovers either.
Anyways, it’ll be yet another interesting season coming up in the ever changing Asia League.
The Chinese hockey federation (government) is apparently saving money by going the Belaruss route instead of American, but I thought the Sharks provided coaching and players for almost free last season, but I might be wrong, and the economic downturn doesn’t help. This is mostly speculation.