12 December 2022
Captain China gets to play for his boyhood hero
The 2022 KHL All-Star Weekend came to a conclusion in Chelyabinsk on Sunday, with our own Brandon Yip representing the Dragons at the big show. Yipper was part of Team Tarasov, playing under CSKA head coach Sergei Fedorov – and enjoying a chance to meet a childhood hero.
This edition was Brandon’s second All-Star appearance, and it was a special one.
“This was another unbelievable experience,” he said. “It was great fun, coming here, meeting other players from all over the league, working with Sergei Fedorov. He was my idol when I was a child, so playing on his team was a special pleasure and a real honor for me.”
The All-Star action this year was in a 3×3 format. Yip played alongside Severstal duo Daniil Vovchenko and Robin Press. He picked up a goal and two assists in two games to help his team finish third out of the four divisions. Saturday’s 7-9 loss against Western Conference rival Team Bobrov was followed by a shoot-out win over Team Chernyshev after a 10-10 tie on Sunday. But the real highlight for most of the players is away from the ice.
“In my personal opinion, the coolest thing about the All-Star Game is the chance to get to know the guys, to share some fun times with them. Coming to an event like this helps you to relax a little during the regular season.”
In the build-up to the weekend action, another Dragon, Parker Foo, was also nominated to play. He was called into the team in place of Dynamo’s Eric O’Dell, who had to miss out through injury. Unfortunately, the injury curse struck again and Foozy had to sit this one out. That denied him a first All-Star appearance, and also means Kunlun has to wait to see two of our players involved in this event.
Qinan makes history in Women’s game
However, Captain China was not the only player to represent our organization in Chelyabinsk during the All-Star Week. Last Sunday, the Women’s Hockey League played its All-Star Game as part of the same event. KRS Shenzhen was involved, with defender Zhao Qinan representing Team East.
This was another special moment for our club. The KRS women have had plenty of All-Star action in previous seasons, but up to now it’s always been our import stars who took top billing. This year saw the first ever Chinese-born player take part in an All-Star Game in Russia.
Qinan is a worthy recipient of that honor. The 25-year-old from Harbin is closing in on a full decade of action with China’s national team. She made her international debut way back in the 2013/14 season, featuring in IIHF senior and U18 action for the People’s Republic. She also took part in the Challenge Cup of Asia team that year. In 2017, she joined the KRS women’s program at the start and played two seasons in the CWHL with our teams. After the team moved to the Russian championship, Qinan missed a couple of years – one of them due to the problems caused by the pandemic – but returned in 2021/22 to earn a place on China’s Olympic roster and help KRS win its second Russian championship under Brian Idalski. This season, she’s been a rock on our blue line and thoroughly merited her historic All-Star call-up.
Unfortunately, Qinan was unable to help Team East to victory in the annual challenge game. Nonetheless, it remains both an unforgettable experience and a worthy testament to her role in Chinese hockey.