The British Columbia Hockey League welcomes international hockey competition in January as Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg U-20 team tour through B.C.
The dates and BCHL opponents for this tour are still being finalized. The Red Bull Salzburg club will arrive Jan. 15 and leave Jan. 28
It is expected they will play four or five games.
Red Bull Salzburg has several familiar faces in its executive including club director and former National Hockey League head coach Pierre Pagé. They are guided 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 team’s skills coach is former NCAA star and NHLer Brian Savage.
“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.
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 U-18 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.
“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,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale.
The BCHL teams that will be hosting games against Red Bull Salzburg will be making their own announcements when dates and times are determined.