The Dragons are making some more changes to the roster – and a familiar face is coming back to our forward line. Sean Collins is part of Kunlun Red Star history. The Canadian forward played on the team in our inaugural 2016/17 campaign and was our club’s first ever KHL goal-scorer when he potted this power play effort 14 minutes into our opening game at Amur.
That historic puck was quickly smuggled off the ice and now takes pride of place in Collins’ personal collection of hockey memorabilia – and rightly so. Not many players get to score their team’s first ever competitive goal. Sean, now 31, went on to compile 39 (13+26) points, helping us reach the playoffs that season, and he added two goals and an assist in the first round series against Metallurg. After that, he moved to HC Sochi and played three seasons beside the Black Sea, featuring as alternate captain last term. Now, he’s delighted to be back.
“I’m excited to join the Red Star and I’m hoping to make a positive impact on the team in the second half of the season,” he said. “I have a lot of positive memories from my time with KRS and it’s a pleasure to be back again.”
While it’s a team game, there’s also a bit of friendly rivalry among our forwards – and Sean’s return raises the stakes. His current tally of 42 points for the club makes him the most productive of our current players. But captain Luke Lockhart is on 41, with Cory Kane just one behind. It promises to be an exciting scoring race between those three in the second half of the season.
While we welcome Collins back to the club where he made his first appearances outside of his native North America, another popular Dragon moves on. Trevor Murphy was a powerful attacking force last season, plundering 27 (10+17) points from the blue line and becoming a real favorite with Red Star’s fans. The 25-year-old D-man added a further eight helpers this term in his 17 appearances and attracted the attention of the KHL’s top clubs. Naturally, we don’t want to lose players of this caliber, but an offer from Ak Bars is too good an opportunity to turn down.
The Ontario native takes plenty of happy memories with him – and hopes to be back in China in the future to see how hockey continues to develop in our homeland.
“I want to thank the Kunlun Red Star organization for the last year and half,” Murphy said. “The experiences I take from this journey will stick with me forever. Playing hockey in China was truly amazing! It is hard to believe how winter sports – especially hockey – are growing in this region. When you see it for yourself, you know that they have bright future. It’s a pity that we can’t play in Beijing and Shenzhen this year – I’m looking forward to visiting China again to see the growth of the interest in hockey and, of course, to meet Chinese fans, young hockey players and our last year’s staff whom I really miss now.
“The group of guys we had last year to this year have been remarkable, and it’s been a particular pleasure to spend part of my career here in Kunlun Red Star. I wish everybody in the organization good luck in the future and see you all on the ice!”