The older of the two professional women’s hockey leagues, the CWHL, announced yesterday that a sixth team will be added to the league for the upcoming season: the Kunlun Red Star. The Ice Garden has an exceptionally good writeup on the announcement that covers just about everything you might be wondering about the move.
But the gist of the announcement is that the Kunlun Red Star will be based out of Shenzhen, China, and will compete in a full season of play against the rest of the CWHL in an effort to win the Clarkson Cup, the league’s championship.
The move an effort on the part of China to boost the prospects of its Olympic sports teams. China did not qualify in women’s ice hockey for the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, but by placing their top players in a top league to train, it should dramatically improve the talent level of the Chinese team.
And that brings us to BC’s own Kelli Stack ‘11. Stack was a surprise omission from the Team USA Olympic centralization roster after having a strong IIHF World Championships with the team, and indeed being one of the most recognizable names at the Sochi Olympics.
But while Team USA has moved on from Kelli, Kelli hasn’t yet moved on from the sport. According to The Ice Garden, who found the initial scoop on a Finnish website (because, I mean, why wouldn’t they), Stack is expected to join the Kunlun Red Star for the upcoming season to play for and help with the development of the new Chinese team. While she will technically need to be “drafted” onto the Chinese team, she showed up to the league’s announcement donning Red Star gear and has all but confirmed that she’ll be playing with them on Twitter.
That's Kelli Stack and Noora Raty in KRS jerseys. News of them joining team broke yesterday. pic.twitter.com/c0GfsyAH3A— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) June 5, 2017
This is pretty cool news. Good luck to Kelli in her efforts to grow the sport of women’s hockey!