Date: October 16, 2016

Claudia Tellez plays her way onto Inferno reserve squad

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“There is still work to be done on [Tellez’s] game, particularly with her skating,” Stevenson shared. “But that is to be expected since she only transitioned four years ago from roller hockey.”

Tellez is older than the vast majority of players in the CWHL and NWHL, but she is still actively working on her game. She readily admits that she needs to work on her speed and skating. Tellez applied for the CWHL Draft because she believed that skating with CWHL talent would improve her game. But her ultimate goal is growing the game in her home country.

“It would be something historic for Mexico, and perhaps even for Latin America, if a Mexican player played in the CWHL,” Tellez told Kate Cimini in an interview for Excelle Sports. “I think that players could emerge [if they played] there. That’s where my interest lies. I’ll do whatever I can to promote and support ice hockey in my country.”

Tellez is currently listed as one the 15 players on the Inferno’s reserve roster. Her choppy strides and lack of speed kept her off of Calgary’s main roster. But her nose for the net, fire for the game and unlikely origin story has the world of women’s hockey talking. And her performance at training camp has the Inferno keeping close tabs on their eighth round pick.

“We’ve asked her to work on a few areas and plan to follow up on her progress as she tries to lead Mexico in their qualification rounds for the Olympics,” Stevenson shared. “There is a chance she could crack our roster one day.”

In the first round of Olympic qualifying games, Tellez scored three goals and added three assists in two games. She and Joanna Rojas, a 16-year-old forward, helped Mexico dismantle Hong Kong and Turkey in Group J this month. Mexico named Tellez their player of the game for the team’s 11-5 victory over Turkey on Oct. 9. She scored a goal, picked up two assists, and put seven shots on net.

The next step for Tellez and Mexico’s women’s national team is another round of Olympic qualifiers in Kazhakstan. Mexico, the 26th ranked team, needs to be one of two teams that emerge from Group G to stay on the long road to PyeongChang 2018. They will cross sticks with Great Britain, Poland and 18th ranked Kazhakstan in early November.

The odds that Tellez will skate in the 2018 Olympics are against her, just like they were in Calgary’s camp. But each game played is a victory in itself for Tellez and her teammates. Each game is another brick in the foundation of women’s ice hockey in Mexico.

Kunlun Red Star inclusion in KHL is first step to China fielding team at Beijing 2022, Chernyshenko claims

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Dmitry Chernyshenko has heralded the inclusion of Kunlun Red Star in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) as a crucial step on the path to China fielding a team at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Chernyshenko, President and chief executive of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia and a member of the Beijing 2022 Coordination Commission, said the KHL and Kunlun Red Star had a “strong mutual interest” in their participation in the league and that the “challenging and highly-promising” Chinese Market had “huge potential”.

The Beijing-based club, who play their matches at the LeSports Center, a venue constructed to host basketball at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the Chinese capital, were added to the league ahead of the current season.

They began their debut appearance in the KHL, considered the second best hockey league in the world behind the National Hockey League which includes teams from Belarus, Croatia, Finland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Russia and Slovakia, with a 2-1 victory over Amur Khabarovsk last month.

Kunlun Red Star currently sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference having picked up eight wins from their opening 18 matches.

The side is made up of a mixture of foreign imports, whose inclusion is designed to make the team as competitive as possible in the league, and domestic talent.

Their current squad features four players from China.

Chernyshenko has predicted staging the Games will lead to a dramatic increase in the amount of Chinese players in the sport.

“Under Olympic guidance, we expect to witness rapid growth in the number of individuals taking up the sport and in the number of hockey matches played,” Chernyshenko said.

“We also see the emergence of this club, Kunlun Red Star, as the first step in the development of a national team to represent China at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

“The team is coached by Vladimir Yurzinov Jr, a man who has earned a formidable reputation throughout the world of hockey, having amassed a wealth of experience with teams in the KHL and many other leagues throughout the world.

“This is why we are confident that this club will become the centre of ice hockey expertise for the entire nation.”

The Russian official also gave his reflections on the state of Beijing 2022’s preparations for the Games in five-and-a-half years’ time, claiming they were “in good form”, even at this early stage, following the visit of the Coordination Commission inspection last week.

Visiting International Olympic Committee (IOC) members claimed they were pleased with what they had seen and Beijing 2022 were “on track” to deliver the event as they have promised.

“It was a pleasure to see the Beijing 2022 team in such good form at such an early stage, according to the reports we received,” Chernyshenko added.

“Fifty per cent of the people in the Organising Committee were in charge for Beijing 2008 Games, so this is a very effective and professional team that has developed well-thought-out plans and ambitious goals.

“China is a challenging and highly promising market, and one which is eager to import, develop and master many non-traditional sports, including ice hockey, ahead of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.”