Russian Invasion

BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats are very pleased to announce the addition of a premier international event to the 2011-12 schedule, as the team has come to an agreement that will bring the Russian Red Stars to Bismarck-Mandan for a match the VFW Sports Center at 7:15 PM on December 21.

The Red Stars are an All-Star team composed of the top players from the MHL, Russia’s top junior league. The “Bobcat Hockey-Russian Red Star Challenge,” a showcase of future collegiate and professional talent from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, will be a first for the capital city.

“The Bobcat organization is incredibly excited to be able to bring to Bismarck-Mandan and Western North Dakota a rare chance to watch this very high-level of junior competition,” said Bobcats team owner Thom Brigl. “This is the first Russian international hockey event in recent memory in Bismarck, and it will really be a treat for our boys and all sports fans in this area”

“It’s going to be an incredible challenge for us, facing the top junior players from a place with such a rich hockey tradition like Russia,” noted Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie. “We’re excited, though, to see where our guys stack up against an international All-Star team of this caliber. I am also really proud of our guys who would normally be on Christmas break for four days already at that point.

“They, as a group, decided they wanted to compete with the Russian Club and bring the fans a great hockey event. Both [Bobcats assistant coach] Mike Peluso and I have played for USA teams against international competition and it’s a great experience that both of us are looking forward to seeing from a different perspective: behind the bench.”

The game was arranged through the NAHL Commissioner’s Office and Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld.

“It is great for the NAHL to host this high level competition between two international junior league teams. For the Bobcats to battle a Russian All-Star team should be a great experience for the players and fans,” said Frankenfeld, who is entering his fourth season as head of the NAHL. “We are also pleased that the Bobcats, who have been one of the premier organizations in the NAHL, will have the chance to battle the Red Stars in front of their home town fans.”

The VFW Sports Center will be one of several stops on the Red Stars’ 2011 North American tour that will include, among others, a visit to Ralph Engelstad Arena against the Fighting Sioux. The Red Stars’ D-I opponents after facing the Cats include Vermont, Northern Michigan, Yale, Notre Dame and UMass-Lowell. They will also be facing the long-time Bobcat rival Alexandria Blizzard.

More details about the event as well as ticket information will be announced shortly.

For the Red Stars, it will be another chance to showcase the eastern European version of junior hockey, as 2011-12 marks just the third year of existence for the MHL—a junior league that spans Russia, Belarus and Latvia.

“This journey is not for tourism. We are eager to win. Anyway, it will be very interesting to face great competition from the US and Canada,” said 2010 Red Star Egor Yakovlev.

“We are very excited about our tour and from what we hear about Bobcat Hockey fans and their hockey club it sounds like it will be an exciting experience for our club,” added Dmitri Efimov, Commissioner of the MHL.

In their first trip to North America in 2010, the Red Stars went 4-1 including two games against NCAA D-I competition: a victory over Army and a loss to then #1 ranked Yale.

As for the present, the 2011-12 Bobcat Hockey season is fast approaching and this year’s Bobcats report for Training Camp this Sunday with “Hell Week” kicking off on Monday at their official off-ice training facility, Healthways Gym.

The preseason opens September 9th as the Bobcats’ newest rival, the Minot Minotauros, come to town for the first of two contests before the Cats officially raise the curtain on the 2011-12 campaign at the Combat Sports NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minn., against the New Mexico Mustangs on September 14.

The Bobcats will raise the 2010-11 Central Division Championship Banner on Coors Light Opening Night, September 23, against the Aberdeen Wings.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving your seats for the upcoming season!

BOBCAT HOCKEY

2011 CENTRAL DIVISION CHAMPIONS