Port Alberni prepares for Road to the World Juniors

Island city to play host to the Kazakhstan National Team for junior hockey’s marquee event

The Kazakh U20 national team celebrates Division I Group A gold. PHOTO OLIVIER BRAJON / IIHF.COM

With the Road to the World Juniors only a week away, the community of Port Alberni is preparing for the arrival of approximately 40 Kazakhstan hockey players and personnel.

As of Monday, Dec. 10, there were fewer than 85 tickets left for the Switzerland vs. Kazakhstan game on Saturday, Dec. 21. Around 200 tickets still remained for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs vs. Kazakhstan Game on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

Alberni Valley Bulldogs business manager Tali Campbell described the hype and energy around the games as “a Bulldogs game times two.”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the community and for the players themselves, but also for the business side, too,” he said. “It is a great revenue generator, but also an amazing opportunity for the volunteers who are involved, the sponsors who are involved and the fans.”

A few intermission games have already been planned, including a Rapid Fire contest to win a Toyota Corolla from Alberni Toyota, as well as a chance to win a shopping spree at Tyler’s No Frills. The Bulldogs have also put out a call to the community in search of volunteers for both games. Ushers, security and game day crew are all needed. If you are interested, send an email to tali@albernivalleybulldogs.ca.

The Kazakhstan National Team will be arriving in Port Alberni on Dec. 18, and will be departing on Dec. 24. They will use the Alberni Valley Multiplex for training and practice, and they will be staying overnight at the Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel and eating out at a few local restaurants.

“The big benefit of this all is the economic value that’s being brought to Port Alberni,” said Campbell. “With a team that is booking a large number of rooms at local hotels, they’re going to be eating out. It’s our job and the city’s to make sure they get the best show in town so that maybe one day they want to come back and visit.”

The team will not have much leisure time in the five days they will be visiting, but organizers are planning a few school visits. Campbell said they are also working with local First Nations groups and tourist destinations, such as McLean Mill, to give the team a chance to explore the Alberni Valley during the “little off-time they have.”

“They’re relying on us a lot because obviously we’re the experts of the Alberni Valley,” said Campbell.

Practices will be open to the public, and a VIP reception will be planned, giving the community a chance to meet the Kazakhstan players.

Kazakhstan named 31 players for their team camp earlier this month. Most of them play for Snezhnye Barsy Astana, the junior team of KHL club Barys Astana that plays in the KHL’s junior league (MHL). Some players also join from clubs competing in the country’s top senior league. The rosters will be trimmed down to 23 players before the official start of the tournament on Dec. 26.

Goaltenders:

Denis Karatayev, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Vladislav Nurek, Altai (KAZ)

Vilen Prokofiev, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Demid Yeremeyev, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Defencemen:

Samat Daniyar, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Tamerlan Gaitamirov, Fargo Force (USHL)

Yaroslav Khripkov, Altai Ust-Kamenogorsk (KAZ/MHL)

Artyom Korolyov, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

David Muratov, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Yernar Musabayev, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Valeri Neroyev, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Valeri Orekhov, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Kirill Pak, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Yevgeni Shinkaretski, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Mikhail Tarasov (Snow Leopards), Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Forwards:

Oleg Boiko, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Andrei Buyalski, HK Temirtau (KAZ)

Sayan Daniyar, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Ruslan Dyomin, HK Temirtau (KAZ)

Artur Gatiyatov, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Dias Guseinov, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Davyd Makutski, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Dmitri Mitenkov, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Maxim Mukhametov, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Batyrlan Muratov, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Maxim Musorov, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Sergei Pryakhin, HK Temirtau (KAZ)

Vladislav Saiko, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Danil Tretiakovski, Altai Ust-Kamenogorsk (KAZ/MHL)

Ivan Vereshagin, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Aidos Zhorabek, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (KAZ/MHL)

Head Coach:

Sergei Starygin

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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