September 25, 2012, Fredricton, NB – The City of Fredericton and the UNB Varsity Reds announced today that the UNB hockey program will play a two-game series against Team Russia – a team made up of all-stars from the MHL (Russia’s equivalent of the Canadian Hockey League) in the 8th annual Peterbilt New Brunswick Pete Kelly Challenge.
The games will take place December 30th at Harbour Station in Saint John at 3pm and on December 31st at 4pm in the Aitken University Centre.
The two game series will cap off a combination of the 40th anniversary of the most famous hockey series of all time – the 1972 Canada-Russia Hockey Summit – along with the annual Montreal Canadians vs. Russian Red Army games on New Year’s Eve. This will be the third annual trip to North American for Team Russia and prior to playing the V-Reds they will play two games against NCAA Providence College Friars and the NCAA RPI Red Hawks prior to making the trek to New Brunswick. It will be UNB’s first international experience against a Russian team although they have had several players play in various international hockey events.
Earlier this month, Roger Shannon, sport tourism manager for the City of Fredericton and long-time general manager for the Varsity Reds hockey team, along with V-Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall travelled to Russia for the 2012 World Junior Club Championship in Omsk, Russia. While in Russia, they were the guests of Alexander Medvedev – President of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and Dimitry Efimov – the Managing Director of the MHL (Russian Junior Hockey League) and the lead organizer for the Junior Club World Cup. Mr. Efimov will be the co-ordinator for Team Russian along with Scott MacPherson – a former NHL scout and NCAA/ pro hockey coach who now is a consultant with Mr. Medvedev. Other guests at the World Cup included NHL Hall of Famer and hockey legend Phil Esposito, former NHL referee Paul Stewart and Rene Fasel, Director of the International Ice Hockey Federation.
Coach MacDougall is excited about the opportunity to play Team Russia. “It could very well be one of the greatest lifetime experiences of their hockey careers for our players and fans – playing Russia on Dec.31 on the anniversary of the 72 series.”
The Varsity Reds men’s hockey program, four time CIS national champions and a perennial national contender, is pleased to add a truly international flavor to the annual Peterbilt New Brunswick Pete Kelly Challenge and hope to have a sell-out crowd for this special commemorative event.
Tickets are now on sale at both Harbour Station ($17 and $15) and at the Aitken Centre ($15 adults and $10 children 12 and under).