BELL CAPITAL CUP TOURNAMENT DAY ONE
The Harbin Red Stars and Qiqihar Snow Leopards had huge wins on Day 1 of the Bell Capital Cup Tournament. The Stars finished 7-1 over the Kanata Ice Wolves and the Snow Leopards beat the South End Storm 9-2.
There was a huge amount of excitement when the Chinese teams arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday afternoon. The Cumberland and the Orleans Devils, two local teams who are hosting the Chinese players for the tournament, greeted them off the bus with cheers and banners welcoming them to Ottawa.
During an arrival ceremony, the Chinese players were introduced to their host families and received their new kits of Nike Bauer Hockey equipment. They wasted no time getting into that new gear this morning, and took to the ice with
Harbin used three goals in the first period to power themselves to a 7-1 victory over the Kanata Ice Wolves on Wednesday at the Corel Centre, home of the Ottawa Senators. The player of the game for Harbin was defenseman Zhu Ziyang, who scored four goals in the win.
"It was exciting and a lot of fun," said the 10-year old Ziyang, who is the team's captain. Harbin has an evening match up against the South Stormont Selects at the Ray Friel Centre.
The Snow Leopards of Qiqihar skated swiftly to victory over the South End Storm this morning, scoring three goals in each period. And will send Zhang Zhihao and Zhang Cheng to the All Star Game at the Ray Friel Centre tonight.
Families of the both host teams came out in force to support the Harbin and Qiqihar, whose jerseys are bright red and yellow. In fact, prior to the evening match up, the Orleans' families put together a special lunch of Chinese noodle soup -- which is a specialty of Chinese players.
Friday will be a big day for both teams as they will meet the Islanders at the Corel Centre prior to Steve Stirling's team taking the ice for the morning skate. That evening, the Qiqihar team plays prior to the match up between the Isles and the Ottawa Senators -- with both teams being a part of the pregame festivities.
* Chris Stevenson's column, "Milbury Puts Hockey on Map in China" from the Dec. 28 edition of the Ottawa Sun