San Jose's new affiliate: China Sharks
"The San Jose Sharks will be sending three coaches and five players to China to compete in the Asia Ice Hockey League to help develop hockey in the world's most populous nation."And you think it's bad if you get sent down to the CHL. How about the ALIH? Ouch.
On a serious note, the Sharks aren't the first to raise the level of hockey in China. Angela Ruggiero and Project Hope, backed by Islanders owner Charles Wang, are providing equipment, translated coaching manuals and U.S. scholarships for youth hockey players there as well.
Update: Among the five lucky soldiers off to China are former WHLers Jason Beeman, Kevin Korol and Keegan McAvoy.
Derek Eisler, a Jr Sharks head coach, and Tom Lenox, a junior coach from Minnesota, are 2 of the 3 coaches heading east. Keegan McAvoy, Kevin Korol, Jason Beeman, Dan Knapp and Zach Sikich are the players that will suit up for the China Sharks. McAvoy has played right wing for the University of Saskatchewan (CIS), and also has WHL and ECHL experience. Left wing Kevin Korol also has WHL, ECHL and CIS experience. Right wing Jason Beeman scored 24 points and racked up 143 PIMs for the Texas Wildcatters of the ECHL last season. Zach Sikich is a 6-foot-2, 205 pound goalie who has played for St. Thomas College (NCAA), as well as for teams in the UHL, SPHL, and ECHL.