New acquisitions as Dragons’ roster takes shape

28 July 2023

Two college graduates lead KRS class of 23/24

The Dragons had a couple of weeks of pre-season in Mytishchi – both on and off the ice. While our guys have been getting to grips with head coach Viktors Ignatjevs’ expectations for the coming season, we’ve also had plenty of activity behind the scenes to build the roster for that campaign.

Right off the bat, we have two exciting acquisitions from the US College circuit – Austin Wong and Nolan Moyle, two players with Chinese heritage and the potential to represent Team China. Austin, a Harvard graduate, is an immediately familiar name. His big brother, Tyler, has been a key player for the Dragons since 2019. We love the flash and dash he brings to our offense and we’re looking forward to seeing how much of that runs in the family.

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That said, Austin, 22, plays as a center, a somewhat different role from Tyler’s marauding wing play. Bigger and heavier than his brother, Austin is a valuable physical presence on the team and isn’t afraid to put that to good use. During his time at college, he helped Harvard win the NCAA ECAC.

That was the highlight of an exciting time in Austin’s career, and now the one-time Winnipeg draft pick is looking forward to making the step up to the pro game. “I guess it’s important not to get ahead of myself, take it one step at a time and contribute to the team any way I can,” he said. “It’s pretty cool. I heard a lot about it from my brother and I’m super excited to be here.

“I’ve never really had this opportunity [to play with Tyler] before. I played a couple games with my other brother [Colton] so it’s great to get out here and play with Tyler. It’s a blessing.”

Nolan Moyle also comes with a wealth of NCAA experience after five years at Michigan. In that time, the 23-year-old right wing earned a great reputation for hard work and selfless team play. He won two B1G conferences with Michigan, first as alternate captain, then as team captain. And while his scoring was not immediately eye-catching, Nolan is very much a player who brings the intangibles.

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Throughout his career, Moyle has impressed coaches with his mentality. Ever reliable, he understands his role on the team and carries it out quietly and effectively, night after night. He adjusted from being a scoring star in youth hockey to carrying out a bottom-six role in the NCAA and rode those changes so well that he was entrusted with leadership positions on his team. Leading by example, and also by finding the right words when needed, based on his own experience.

“I always try to picture where I was at 17,” Moyle told the Michigan Daily. “You want people to learn because you’ve been through it. … Some guys that come in, it might not be happening for them offensively or they’re in and out of the lineup and they might be going through the same thing that I was going through. Sharing my experience and learning that at the end of the day, all you want to do is win games.”

It’s an attitude that suggests there will be more games won as Moyle moves into pro hockey for the first time and hints that adapting to a new environment in a foreign country is something he can take in his stride.

Big names return

Meanwhile, the Wongs are not the only brothers in the Dragons’ Lair this season. Spencer and Parker Foo, Red Star’s original brothers in arms, are both back on the team. Spencer returns to the KHL after playing with the Golden Knights organization for a year. Unfortunately, he was unable to add to his four NHL appearances for Calgary but got in a full campaign with the Henderson Silver Knights in the AHL. The 29-year-old, who had 76 points in 154 games for KRS in 2019-2022 is back on a three-year deal.

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He’s linking up with younger brother Parker, 24, who also confirmed a three-year contract with Red Star. Parker has 50 points from three seasons in the KHL and also scored China’s first goal at the 2022 Winter Olympics. The Foo brothers last played together in Tallinn during China’s World Championship campaign. Between them, they had 14 (4+10) points for their country.

That’s not the end of the familiar faces coming back to the team. Kyle Wood inked a two-year deal on Friday, while Alex Riche agreed a one-year term.

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