15 March 2023
Dragons among the first to receive prestigious new award
As an organization, Kunlun Red Star has close links with the city of Shenzhen, in the Guangdong province. That region has become an economic powerhouse in recent years, and as it grows the local authorities decided to create the prestigious Guangdong Friendship Award to acknowledge foreigners who have made a profound contribution to the region. The first honors were presented at an inaugural ceremony this week – and KRS was among the first winners!
The club’s executive vice-president Nikolai Feoktistov received the award in recognition of the Dragons’ work in promoting international sporting relations. For several years, Kunlun has helped to promote the growth of hockey in Shenzhen, building on the impressive facilities constructed for the Universiade and bringing some of the biggest stars in hockey to the shores of the South China Sea.
Shenzhen, of course, is the home city of our women’s team. Previously known as KRS Vanke Rays, the Lady Dragons played as KRS Shenzhen this season in Russia’s Women’s Hockey League. Over the years, the women have won two Russian national championships and also competed for three seasons in Canada’s CWHL. Moreover, last year China’s Hockey Association signed a unique deal with the IIHF to stage the next three Division IA Women’s World Championship tournaments in Shenzhen.
Our association with Shenzhen has been a big success for the club as well. At the start of the 2019/20 campaign, Kunlun Red Star men’s team played its first six games in the KHL season in the same arena, attracting some of the biggest crowds we’ve seen. During that sequence, the women set an all-time record attendance for a Russian WHL game.
We had high hopes of doing even more in the city that city, especially with a championship-winning team in the women’s competition. Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic forced everyone to change plans. Nobody anticipated a prolonged exile for our teams, nor the disruption that would bring for our efforts to continuing developing Chinese hockey at home and on the international stage.
Now, with the pandemic in retreat and restrictions largely lifted, we can’t wait to get back home to China – and resume our efforts to develop a local hockey culture with even greater energy!