Kunlun Red Star

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Kunlun Red Star
HC Kunlun Red Star logo.png
LeagueKHL 2016–present
Home arenaFeiyang Ice Skating Center, Shanghai
Alternate: Cadillac Arena[1]
(capacity: 5,000 (Shanghai)
14,000 (Beijing))
ColoursRed, white, yellow
General managerRaitis Pilsetnieks
Head coachJussi Tapola
CaptainBrandon Yip
WebsiteCN: hcredstar.com
RU: hcredstar.com/ru/
EN: hcredstar.com/en/
Franchise history
2016–presentHC Kunlun Red Star

HC Kunlun Red Star (simplified Chinese: 北京昆仑鸿星 or 昆仑鸿星; traditional Chinese: 北京崑崙鴻星 or 崑崙鴻星; pinyin: Běijīng Kūnlún Hóngxīng or Kūnlún Hóngxīng) is a Chinese ice hockey club that joined the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) prior to the 2016–17 season.[2][3][4]


Preparation of the team[edit]

In March 2016, representatives of Kunlun Red Star and the KHL signed a protocol of intent to have a Chinese-based team enter the KHL. The protocol was signed by the representative from the Russian Ice Hockey Federation Vladislav Tretiak, the chairman of the KHL Gennady Timchenko and the board of Kunlun Red Star. In mid-April, the president of IIHF, René Fasel, shared his opinion about the intention of the Chinese club to join the KHL, expressing hope that this would help China bring their hockey to a higher level.[5]

The club was required to meet contractual economic conditions by 30 April 2016 in order to join the KHL.[2] According to Roman Rotenberg, HC Kunlun Red Star applied to fulfill its obligations, but there was a coherent number of formalities for the final decision about team to be taken by June 2016.[6] In early May, the KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko considered the affiliation of the club to the league as an already done deal: "The club has provided all the documents on the scene, the structure of the club, finance, and they have the permission of the Chinese Ice Hockey Association."[7]

It was announced on 25 June 2016 that the KHL board of directors had officially accepted the club's application and that they would be participating in the upcoming 2016–17 KHL season.[3] The Beijing announcement ceremony included Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.[4]

Home games were to be played at the LeSports Center in Beijing and at the Sports Center Pavilion in Shanghai.[8] In November 2016, it was reported the team was playing its games at the Feiyang Skating Center in Shanghai as the Beijing facility was booked full with concerts and basketball games, though plans were to return to Beijing in December.[4]

There were early rumours that Ilya Kovalchuk would join the team as a player, and that Mike Keenan would be the first head coach[9] but both proved false, as Kovalchuk remained with SKA Saint Petersburg, and Vladimir Yurzinov, Jr. was named the first head coach of Kunlun.[10]

2016–17 season[edit]

Kunlun Red Star players prior to a match in 2017

On 24 July 2016, the team played its first pre-season game, in which it was defeated 2–0 by Traktor Chelyabinsk.[11]

In a later exhibition match, on 8 August 2016 against Barys Astana, a fight broke out minutes into the game when defenceman Damir Ryspayev punched Kunlun forward Tomáš Marcinko in the face, then attacked three other Kunlun players before trying to jump into the Red Star bench. The attack appeared to be retaliation for a Kunlun hit in an earlier game that had left Barys forward Dustin Boyd with a broken leg. Officials cancelled the game, and Ryspayev was suspended and eventually given a lifetime ban from the KHL.[4]

The Kunlun Red Star won its regular season KHL debut against Amur Khabarovsk by a score of 2–1.[12] The first goal in franchise history was scored by Sean Collins at 14:00 of the first period.[4] The team also won its second game, a home game in front of a crowd of 7,832 people, defeating Admiral Vladivostok by a final of 6–3.[13]

On 27 October 2016, Chinese-Canadian defenceman Zach Yuen, a Vancouver-born draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets, became the first player of Chinese descent to score in a league game, in a 1–0 win over Khabarovsk. There were also four Chinese-born players on the team. KHL roster guidelines required that Red Star has any combination of at least 10 Russian and Chinese players.[4]

After the team's first home game in Beijing, the team had to play its home games during the fall in Shanghai, as the arena in Beijing was not available. However, the interest in Shanghai for games was poor; average attendance was only 1,100 for the first 14 games in Shanghai. The team returned to Beijing in mid-December.[14] After returning to Beijing, attendance improved and the team began attracting crowds of around 7,500, comparable with the more established KHL teams.[15] Red Star finished the season with an average attendance of 2,952, the highest of any team in Asia. Games in Shanghai averaged 1,280, while their matches in Beijing saw an average of 5,137 spectators.[16]

Kunlun Red Star qualified for the 2017 KHL postseason and faced the defending Gagarin Cup champions Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the conference quarterfinals.[17] Defenceman Tuukka Mäntylä scored the first two playoff goals in the Beijing club's history in a 4–2 loss to Metallurg.[18]

Season-by-season record[edit]

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, OTW = Overtime/Shootout Wins, OTL = Overtime/Shootout Losses, L = Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season GP W OTW OTL L Pts GF GA Finish Top scorer Playoffs
2016–17 60 24 4 3 29 83 139 144 5th, Chernyshev Chad Rau (40 points: 20 G, 20 A; 60 GP) Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 1–4 (Metallurg Magnitogorsk)
2017–18 56 15 4 8 29 61 103 146 7th, Chernyshev Gilbert Brulé (35 points: 17 G, 18 A; 47 GP) Did not qualify
2018–19 62 19 1 11 31 51 142 190 5th, Chernyshev Brandon Yip (36 points: 21 G, 15 A; 62 GP) Did not qualify


Current roster[edit]

Updated 7 January 2019.[19]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
88 Canada Victor Bartley D L 31 2018 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
73 Russia Oskars Bartulis D L 32 2018 Ogre, Latvia
37 Canada Justin Fontaine RW R 31 2018 Bonnyville, Alberta, Canada
17 Canada Marc-André Gragnani D L 32 2018 L'Île-Bizard, Quebec, Canada
36 Finland Joonas Järvinen D L 30 2018 Turku, Finland
8 Canada Brayden Jaw RW R 26 2016 Vancouver, BC, Canada
47 United States Cory Kane C L 28 2017 Irvine, California, United States
31 Finland Tomi Karhunen G L 29 2018 Oulu, Finland
4 Finland Ville Lajunen D R 31 2018 Helsinki, Finland
46 Canada Michael Latta F R 27 2018 St. Clements, Ontario, Canada
40 Russia Aleksandr Lazushin G L 30 2018 Yaroslavl, Russian SFSR
20 Canada Luke Lockhart C R 26 2017 Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
6 United States Sam Lofquist D R 29 2018 Somerset, Wisconsin, United States
79 Sweden Patrik Lundh C L 30 2018 Stockholm, Sweden
86 Czech Republic Tomáš Mertl LW L 33 2018 České Budějovice, Czechoslovakia
94 Canada Josh Nicholls RW R 26 2018 Delta, British Columbia, Canada
34 Finland Olli Palola RW R 30 2018 Oulu, Finland
7 Canada Blake Parlett D R 29 2018 Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada
23 Latvia Krisjanis Redlihs D L 38 2018 Riga, Latvia
39 Kazakhstan Martin St. Pierre LW L 35 2018 Embrun, Ontario, Canada
19 Finland Veli-Matti Savinainen LW L 33 2018 Espoo, Finland
9 Canada Chris Seto LW L 21 2017 Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
71 United States Drew Shore C R 28 2018 Denver, Colorado, United States
26 United States Greg Squires RW R 30 2017 White Plains, New York, United States
28 Sweden Johan Sundström RW R 26 2018 Gothenburg, Sweden
22 Canada Mikaël Tam D L 27 2017 Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
14 Sweden Tobias Viklund D L 32 2018 Kramfors, Sweden
43 Czech Republic Ondřej Vitásek D L 28 2018 Prostějov, Czechoslovakia
16 Canada Wojtek Wolski LW L 33 2018 Zabrze, Poland
18 Canada Brandon Yip (C) RW R 33 2017 Maple Ridge, BC, Canada
93 Canada Zach Yuen D L 26 2018 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Russia-based KHL expands into China with Beijing team". 14 December 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b "KHL and RIHF sign a Protocol of Intention with a Chinese Club". khl.ru. Kontinental Hockey League. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b "It's Official! Kunlun Red Star joins the KHL". Kontinental Hockey League. 25 June 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Pinchevsky, Tal (November 7, 2016). "China, Meet Hockey. Russia, Meet a Huge Untapped Market". The New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  5. ^ "Фазель: я был бы счастлив, если бы русские помогли китайцам в развитии хоккея" (in Russian). 16 April 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Ķīnas klubs iesniedz oficiālu pieteikumu dalībai KHL" (in Latvian). sportacentrs.com. 1 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Чернышенко: недостатка в ярких звездах с уходом Радулова, Зайцева у КХЛ не возникнет". rsport.ru (in Russian). 6 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Nya KHL-laget kommer spela flera matcher i Shanghai" (in Swedish). August 15, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  9. ^ Lerner, Matt (13 April 2016). "Russian Hockey Comes to China". The Diplomat. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  10. ^ "It's Official! Kunlun Red Star joins the KHL". en.KHL.ru. Kontinental Hockey League. 25 June 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Гатиятулин: "Куньлунь" уже в первой игре показал, что в КХЛ они не мальчики для битья". www.rsport.ru. July 24, 2016. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  12. ^ "Red Star shines bright on debut". www.khl.ru. September 1, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  13. ^ "Box score, Kunlun-Admiral". September 5, 2016.
  14. ^ "China Wants to Be the Next Hockey Heavyweight". November 22, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  15. ^ "Red Star ready to shine". February 22, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  16. ^ Merk, Martin (2017-03-14). "Swiss lead attendance study". IIHF.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  17. ^ "Enter the Dragon - Kunlun brings playoff hockey to China!". February 20, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  18. ^ "Early excitement, late drama - day two of the playoffs". February 22, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  19. ^ "Kunlun Red Star Roster". en.khl.ru. 2018-09-01. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  20. ^ Maura Sun (3 August 2018). "Kunlun Red Stars Announce Team Name Change". Canadian Women's Hockey League. Retrieved 8 August 2018.

External links[edit]