Written By Maura Sun
SHENZHEN (August 3, 2018) – HC Shenzhen Kunlun Red Star announced a new team name for the upcoming 2018/2019 season. The team will now be known as the “Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays” and will still be based in Shenzhen, China.
The name change is a result of the integration of the “Shenzhen Vanke Rays” and “Shenzhen Kunlun Red Star”. The KRS Vanke Rays will be a part of the CWHL for 2018/2019 season with a goal of bringing Clarkson Cup to China. The decision comes after a grueling six-months spent traveling to and from North America last season, which presented a challenge for the Kunlun and Vanke teams. Besides the regular high-intensity training, and tight game schedules, both home and visiting team players had to deal with the fatigue along with the 15-hour flight and 12-hour time difference.
The KRS will still exist as a separate hockey team that is full of Chinese national players. This team will be trained separately by Chinese coaching staff and attend different international games. They will prepare for the 2019 World Championship and build the foundation for the ultimate 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic.
The KRS Vanke Rays have been busy in the offseason adding two new heritage players, former Princeton goaltender Kimberly Newell and former UConn Huskies player Leah Lum. They have also re-signed heritage players Maddie Woo, Rose Alleva, and Melanie Jue. The 2018 goaltender of the Year Noora Räty, Alex Carpenter, Stephanie Anderson, Cayley Mercer, Emma Woods and Hanna Bunton have all re-signed with Kunlun Red Star and will be returning next season. With the addition of new head coach Bob Deraney, the team is coming together for the 2018/2019 season.
Rob Morgan, former Vanke Rays head coach, will be the Sports Director of HC Shenzhen Kunlun Red Star as well as the “Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays” team General Manager. Last season, Vanke Rays posted a record of 14-13-0-1 and were fifth overall. In the last 10 games of the season, Morgan guided the youngest team in the league to a 7-3-0-0 bounce back. As the Sports Director, Morgan will be committed to recruiting players, Chinese heritage players development and helping head coach Bob Deraney reshape the team. His new position will allow him to keep contributing to the club and help grow ice hockey in China.