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China's KHL team sparkles at home debut

By Wang Mengzhen (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2016-09-06 15:51 Comments

China's KHL team sparkles at home debut

The 18-year-old Ying Rudi, the only Chinese-born player in the team, has been put in the spotlight during a KHL game played between Kunlun Red Star and Admiral Vladivostok in LeSport Center, Beijing on Sept 5, 2016. [Photo/VCG]

Led by the seasoned Russian coach, the Beijing squad consists of seven players from Finland, and others are from China, Canada, Russia, the US, Sweden and France. Among all players, 18-year-old Ying Rudi, the only one who is Chinese-born, has been put in the spotlight by some 8,000 spectators.

Last December, the Russia-based KHL confirmed the Chinese capital was awarded an expansion franchise in the world's second largest professional circuit. In June, Kunlun Red Star officially reached an agreement with the KHL.

Red Star's entry added KHL membership to 29 clubs distributed in eight countries, including Russia (22), Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Slovakia, Finland, Croatia and China. This is only second to North America's 30-team National Hockey League (NHL).

Founded in 2008, the KHL is widely considered a premier professional ice hockey league in Europe and Asia.

This is the first time the ice hockey court in LeSports center has been put into use, which also will be the main venue during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Murray Greig and Xinhua contributed to the story.

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