The Canadian Hockey League today announced the roster for Team Russia that will compete in the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series which begins on Monday November 6 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
A team of 24 Russian players including three goaltenders, nine defencemen, and 12 forwards will travel across Canada as part of the 15th annual series playing six games against CHL competition from November 6-16 in preparation for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship taking place this season in Buffalo, New York.
This year’s Team Russia is a mature group with all 24 players born in 1998. Five players have NHL affiliations including goaltender Mikhail Berdin who was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets and defenceman Egor Zaitsev who was a seventh round pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2017. On forward Mikhail Maltsev was a fourth round pick of the Devils in 2016, Andrey Altybarmakyan was a 2017 third round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Vladislav Kara was a 2017 fourth round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Of the 24 players, only Zaitsev and goaltender Vladislav Sukhachev return from last year’s event. The netminder made four appearances and posted a 1-1-0 record with a goals-against-average of 3.55 and save percentage of .885 and later represented Russia at the 2017 World Junior earning a bronze medal.
Team Russia is led once again by head coach Valery Bragin making his sixth appearance and fourth straight year behind the bench at this event. In his tenure as head coach of the Russian National Junior Team the program has earned World Junior gold (2011 in Buffalo), three silver medals (2016 in Finland, 2015 in Toronto, 2012 in Calgary), and one bronze (2017 in Montreal).
An additional eight Russian-born CHL players will compete in various games of the series including three from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, three from the Ontario Hockey League, and two from the Western Hockey League.
The WHL players competing in Moose Jaw on November 6 and in Swift Current November 7 include forward Alexander Alexeyev of the Red Deer Rebels and Broncos defenceman Artyom Minulin who will compete before his home crowd in Game 2. For OHL games in Owen Sound on November 9 and in Sudbury November 13, Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Alexey Lipanov of the Barrie Colts will compete alongside Edmonton Oilers prospect Dmitri Samorukov of the Guelph Storm and Minnesota Wild prospect Dmitry Sokolov of the Game 4 host Wolves. In the QMJHL games taking place November 14 in Charlottetown and November 16 in Moncton, Columbus Blue Jackets prospect and reigning QMJHL Player of the Year Vitalii Abramov of the Gatineau Olympiques will compete for Russia with Nashville Predators prospect Pavel Koltygin of the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Philadelphia Flyers prospect German Rubtsov of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
Rubtsov competed in the duration of the series last year scoring two goals in five games and was also a member of the bronze medal team in Montreal. Minulin, Sokolov, and Abramov also return for a second straight year having competed against their regional leagues in 2016.
Team Russia has captured three series victories in 2014, 2012, and 2010.
2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series – Team Russia:
Most recent club team listed in brackets
Mikhail Berdin (Sioux Falls Stampede – USHL)
Alexey Melnichuk (SKA-Neva St. Petersburg – VHL)
Vladislav Sukhachev (Chelmet Chelyabinsk – VHL)
Dmitry Alexeyev (Chelmet Chelyabinsk – VHL)
Anatoly Elizarov (Toros Neftekamsk – VHL)
Alexander Kalinin (Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk – MHL)
Nikolay Knyzhov (SKA-Neva St. Petersburg – VHL)
Daniil Kurashov (Admiral Vladivostok – KHL)
Nikita Makeyev (CSKA Moscow – KHL)
Artyom Maltsev (Dizel Penza – KHL)
Alexander Shepelev (Chelmet Chelyabinsk – VHL)
Egor Zaitsev (Dynamo Moscow – KHL)
Andrey Altybarmakyan (SKA-Neva St. Petersburg – VHL)
Georgy Ivanov (Loko Yaroslavl – MHL)
Vladislav Kara (Bars Kazan – VHL)
Mikhail Maltsev (SKA St. Petersburg – KHL)
Artyom Manukyan (Avangard Omsk – KHL)
Danila Moiseyev (Vityaz Podolsk – KHL)
Alexey Polodyan (SKA-Neva St. Petersburg – VHL)
Damir Rakhimullin (Lada Togliatti – KHL)
Maxim Rasseykin (Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg – KHL)
Ivan Romanov (Loko Yaroslavl – MHL)
Maxim Tsyplakov (Spartak Moscow – KHL)
Daniil Veryaev (Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod – KHL)
WHL players on Team Russia:
Alexander Alexeyev (Red Deer Rebels)
Artyom Minulin (Swift Current Broncos)
OHL Players on Team Russia:
Alexey Lipanov (Barrie Colts)
Dmitri Samorukov (Guelph Storm)
Dmitry Sokolov (Sudbury Wolves)
QMJHL Players on Team Russia:
Vitalii Abramov (Gatineau Olympiques)
Pavel Koltygin (Drummondville Voltigeurs)
German Rubtsov (Acadie-Bathurst Titan)
Head Coach – Valery Bragin
Assistant Coach – Oleg Bratash
Assistant Coach – Yury Babenko
Goalie Coach – Vladimir Kulikov
Video Coach – Vladislav Krutskikh
Analyst – Alexander Kadykov
Administration – Sergey Zatsarenko
General Manager – Alexei Kochetkov
Doctor – Valery Egorov
Physiotherapist – Artem Timofeev
Equipment Manager – Alexander Rezepov
Media Manager – Petr Tereshchenkov
The 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series is supported by title sponsor CIBC, the Official Bank of the CHL, along with associate sponsors Cooper Tires and Sherwin-Williams. All games will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series Schedule:
Game 1 – Monday November 6 at Moose Jaw, SK
Game 2 – Tuesday November 7 at Swift Current, SK
Game 3 – Thursday November 9 at Owen Sound, ON
Game 4 – Monday November 13 at Sudbury, ON
Game 5 – Tuesday November 14 at Charlottetown, PE
Game 6 – Thursday November 16 at Moncton, NB
For event information including how to purchase tickets please visit http://chlcanadarussia.ca.