Monday, April 11, 2011

The Boys Are In Russia

I am hearing back from Eddie Gregory, media relations for the BCHL Team Canada, that the boys are in their temporary home in Podolsk, Russia for the April 15-17 international hockey tournament. Sounds like they have been enjoying themselves but are also very much getting down to business with two-a-day practices.

On the flight over they had a seven hour layover in London, England and took the opportunity to go sightseeing taking in Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abby, Big Ben and the like. Where the boys are now in Podolsk, Russia they are 11 hours ahead of their family and friends in British Columbia.

While the boys were in the air and otherwise traveling to their intended destination, I was doing some research on this "International Tournament." Unfortunately there just doesn't seem to be lots of available information other than what the different BCHL teams and local media are posting to their website. All of that information stems from the original press release from the BCHL on March 30th.

There doesn't seem to be an official name or website for the tournament, but it is clear this isn't some exhibition set of games. I have found reports of players affiliated with professional teams in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) participating in the tournament.

Goaltender Kirill Brashkin, forwards Bulat Shavaleev and Oleg Lomako - who play on the AK Bars development team - received call-ups to play in a training camp for the National U20 Junior team from April 8-14. After the training camp, the National team will be one of the four teams participating in the Tournament.

The name Bulat Shavaleev might be familiar to some as he was one of the U17 players on the Russia team that played at the 2009 World U17 Tournament in Port Alberni. Shavaleev is a 1992 born right winger that played in 48 games this season finishing with 14 goals and 15 assists.

Oleg Lomako is also an eighteen year old forward that finished the season with 31 points (11G, 20A) in 53 games. Kirill Brashkin is a smaller goaltender at 5'09" and 192 pounds. The eighteen year old played in 26 games finishing with a 3.36 goals against average and .880 save percentage.

Of course it is not for sure that these three will make the Russian National team, but I hope it gives you a sense of what the boys representing Canada will be up against. Eddie Gregory confirms this by stating that the two Russian teams have been fairly impressive looking in their practices. Tim Kehler has been getting his team ready to play some tough opponents in their three game round robin venture overseas.

Perhaps the lack of cell service and internet availability will be a good thing helping to keep the boys together as a team while off the ice and focusing in on the task that they will face when they are on the ice. I will continue to search for information on the International Tournament in Podolsk and of course will use the information being supplied by Eddie Gregory while he is with the team in Russia.

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