Chilliwack/Surrey/Langley – The British Columbia Hockey League is pleased to announce international hockey competition is returning to the league in just over a month’s time as hockey club Red Bull Salzburg of Austria (U20 team) will make a tour through B.C. in January 2016.
The dates and BCHL opponents for this tour are still being finalized. The Red Bull Salzburg club will be arriving in B.C. on Jan. 15 and leaving on January 28. It is expected they will be playing four or five games against BCHL teams.
Red Bull Salzburg has several familiar faces in its executive including club director and former NHL head coach Pierre Pagé and skills coach, former NCAA star and NHLer Brian Savage.
“This BCHL-Red Bull hockey series is a global hockey challenge which brings us all together to strive and grow, be different and significantly better,” said Pagé.
The last time an international club came through the BCHL was in the 2009-10 season when the Malmo Redhawks of Sweden played in Powell River, Alberni Valley and Nanaimo. In 2008-09, the Sweden U18 side featuring Gabriel Landeskog played a series of exhibition games against BCHL teams.
The Red Bull Salzburg club, like the BCHL teams they’ll face, will include players born anywhere from 1995 to 1999. Most of the players are Austrian but there are some German-born players as well.
“We very much look forward to hosting Red Bull Salzburg in January,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale. “This is a first-rate organization and I know the club they’re sending will provide a true test for our teams and great entertainment for our fans.”
Red Bull Salzburg is coached by former Boston College standout and Carolina Hurricanes draft pick J.D. Forrest as well as former Clarkson University defenceman and Bentley University assistant coach Matt Curley.
“The players that I have had the opportunity to work with that have come from the BCHL have been not only exceptional players but more importantly exceptional people, leaders on the ice and in the community,” said Curley. “This is the overwhelming sentiment within the NCAA community and is reason why there continues to be such a strong pipeline from the BCHL to the NCAA.
“We hope to give each team and their fans a great hockey game as our team is looking forward to the challenge.”
The BCHL teams that will be hosting games against Red Bull Salzburg will be making their own announcements when the dates and times are determined.