A rare moment it is when the insight strikes you that you are experiencing a historic moment. But it happened to all of us who watched Kunlun Red Star’s first game away in Khabarovsk against Amur.
I have a feeling that many thought that 10-15 years ago it would have sounded more like a good joke with a Chinese team participating at the pro level and competing against Russian and European teams.
No need to be ashamed to admit that you probably would have been laughing if someone suggested a Chinese team 10-15 years ago.
Much because most of us didn’t think that far ahead, and were too narrow-minded at the time to see that far and thought that the hockey world would stay the same.
>>> But, the good thing in this is that we all evolve mentally in many ways and our perspective is getting wider year-by- year.
At least I am glad that I was wrong about the hockey world and my view then, and that my latest hope has become more or less true: that the hockey world is growing more and more.
>>> Kunlun’s participating in the KHL is not only good for the Chinese hockey but also for the sport in general; the white spots on the hockey map are getting filled with teams that contribute at the highest level.
The reason for my standpoint is because Las Vegas is inside the United States and it has been more or less obvious in recent years that they’d contribute in the National Hockey League in the nearest future.
>>> It would have been indeed a very different thing and much stronger move by Bettman and the NHL organization if they had implemented a hockey team in Mexico or Alaska for example, or why not in Brazil?
Then it would have been something really interesting to talk about I think for a long, long time.
However, Kunlun met Amur Khabarovsk and won their first historic game thanks to a late goal by Tuukka Mäntylä.
There are a lot of Finns in the team because Vladimir Jurzinov jr is known for the Finnish hockey and he knows the Finnish players’ capacity (the other Finnish players in Kunlun are: Janne Jalasvaara, Tomi Karhunen, Miika Lahti, Eetu Pöysti and Max Wärn)
>>> My first impression after their first real competitive game (I haven’t seen the exhibition games) was that the team, Kunlun Red Star, despite the hasty gathering of players before the season are very serious about their participating in the league.
Another impression is that the owners of the Kunlun organization are very much more serious than the staff involved in the Swedish so-far-hypothetical-club Crowns, as we all still remember too well that disaster of a press conference last spring held by the Crowns people.
Kunlun staff would never humiliate themselves in such way, to set up an official presser where they make themselves fools in front of hundreds of journalists and talk a bunch of mumbo-jumbo with no sense at all.
How it will go the rest of the season, that’s another question of course.
I am excited enough though and I’ll look forward to their upcoming adventures on the ice, from Vladivostok to Helsinki – Bratislava and Zagreb.
Also, I really hope that the fans in China, In Beijing and Shanghai, will fill the home venue to the brim, as the team really needs their support.
To the last:
>>> In the long run, I hope that Kunlun’s participating in the KHL will inspire more Chinese youths and children to start to play hockey, as I like to believe that there is big potential to find great players, many because of the obvious fact that there are PEOPLE.
What we think, we become