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KHL: Chinese team romps to victory in first Beijing home game


09-06-2016 16:04 BJT

It may still feel like summer here in Beijing, but winter sports got underway Monday night in the nation's capital as Kunlun Red Star played their first home game of the Kontinental Hockey League. The Chinese team is the latest addition to the Russian based organization that now boasts teams in eight countries and Kunlun are a perfect 2-0 in their debut season after an impressive 6-3 win over Vladivostok Admiral at the LeSports Center.

CCTV's  Greg Laffradi was at the game, and tells us how breaking the ice on this contest, could help in the build up to the Beijing 2022 Olympics. 

Now with 29 teams, the KHL is the largest hockey league in Europe and Asia and the second biggest in the world behind the NHL. China is very committed to the development of its first team and it is a sign of greater sports cooperation between China and Russia, including on the Olympics, as reiterated by Russia's deputy prime minister before the puck dropped in Beijing. 

But helping China to achieve its goals of developing winter sports in the build up to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is not an easy task. Hockey is still a new and relatively unknown sport in the country, but help has arrived in the form of top level coaches who are dedicated to helping local Chinese players become proficient on the ice.

"For the last two years a lot of international specialists have come to China to work with kids to help develop hockey knowledge from childhood."

"Until now the Chinese players were at a lower amateur level, but our main focus here is to help them improve and reach a more professional level," said Vladimir Yurzinov, Red Star coach

The KHL requires each country to have at least five players from their respective nation and Red Star has four Chinese and three ethnic Chinese in their ranks, including Canadian born Zach Yuen who is a former NHL draft pick and happy to be a part of their first win at home.

"Since training camp we've been going at it hard for two months and to get the first win for them feels great," said Zach Yuen, Red Star Defenseman.

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