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The Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays are a professional women's hockey team based in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. They are a member of the Russian Women's Hockey League (WHL) after the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) folded in 2019. The team was known as Kunlun Red Star WIH (simplified Chinese: 深圳昆仑鸿星 or 昆仑鸿星; traditional Chinese: 深圳崑崙鴻星 or 崑崙鴻星; pinyin: Shēnzhèn Kūnlún Hóngxīng or Kūnlún Hóngxīng; Cantonese Yale: Sāmzan Kwānlèuhn Hùhngsīng or Kwānlèuhn Hùhngsīng) during its first season in 2017–18, but changed its name after the second Chinese team, the Vanke Rays, was shut down and merged into Red Star. The team is operated by the Kunlun Red Star of the Kontinental Hockey League and began operation in 2017.

Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays
HC Kunlun Red Star logo.png
CityShenzhen, Guangdong, China
LeagueRussian Women's Hockey League
Home arenaShenzhen Dayun Arena
ColorsRed, white
Owner(s)Kunlun Red Star
General managerRob Morgan
Head coachBrian Idalski
Franchise history
2017–2018Kunlun Red Star WIH
2018–presentShenzhen KRS Vanke Rays

The KRS Vanke Rays plays home games at Shenzhen Dayun Arena in Shenzhen.



Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL): 2017–2019Edit

The Kunlun Red Star women's ice hockey team was established on June 5, 2017, in an effort to improve the China women's national ice hockey team in preparation for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics,[1] in association the Kunlun Red Star men's team that had joined the Kontinental Hockey League the previous year. The team signed two players prior to the official announcement of the team in Noora Räty and forward Kelli Stack.[2] Red Star announced Digit Murphy, formerly of the Boston Blades as head coach.[3] The team also signed Rob Morgan from Yale as associate head coach[4] but soon after became the head coach of the second Chinese team, the Vanke Rays.

With their first round pick in the 2017 CWHL Draft, the Red Star selected Noora Räty.[5] The club proceeded to select Alexandra Carpenter in the second round,[6] while the third round saw the franchise select from NWHL All-Star Shiann Darkangelo.

On October 21, 2017, the Red Star competed in their first game, facing the Markham Thunder. Kelli Stack and Baiwei Yu both earned assists on the first goal in Kunlun Red Star history scored by Zoe Hickel.[7] During the regular season, teams that traveled to China played a three-game series against the Red Star in an effort to reduce travel costs.

By season's end, Noora Räty was the CWHL's regular season goaltending champion, leading the league in goals against average. In addition, she tied for the league in shutouts with goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer of Les Canadiennes, with six. Räty also won the CWHL Goaltender of the Year award, the first European-born goaltender to capture the honor, and Kelli Stack led the CWHL in scoring, the first American-born player to win the Angela James Bowl.

Räty was also the starting goaltender for the Red Star in the 2018 Clarkson Cup finals in Toronto. Facing the Markham Thunder, the final went into overtime, where Laura Stacey scored with 2:11 left in the 4-on-4 overtime as Markham prevailed by a 2–1 score for its first Clarkson Cup win.[8] Räty recorded 37 saves in the game while Stack scored the only goal of the game for the Red Star.[9] Head coach Digit Murphy left the team in May and Kunlun Red Star named Bob Deraney, formerly the head coach of the Providence Friars women's ice hockey team, as the new head coach on June 12, 2018.[10]

Prior to the 2018–19 season, the CWHL shut down the other Chinese team, the Vanke Rays. On August 3, 2018, Kunlun Red Star changed its name to Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays. Rob Morgan, who served as the head coach of the Vanke Rays during its only season was named as the general manager for the consolidated club. Kunlun Red Star brand was continued to be used by a separate hockey team for the Chinese national players as part of the national team's development in preparation for the 2022 Olympics.[11]

In February 2019, the KRS Vanke Rays announced coach Deraney had stepped down and Mike LaZazzera would take over the rest of the season.[12] The team missed qualifying for the final playoff spot via tiebreaker with the Toronto Furies.

Following the season, the CWHL ceased operations citing that the league had become financially infeasible, but that the Chinese partnership had kept the league operating during the previous seasons.[13]

Russian Women's Hockey League (WHL): 2019–presentEdit

On July 25, 2019, the team announced it was joining the Russian Women's Hockey League (WHL) for the 2019–20 season.[14] The team also hired formed North Dakota head coach Brian Idalski as the team's fourth head coach.[15]


Awards and honorsEdit


  1. ^ Price, Satchel (5 June 2017). "Canadian Women's Hockey League expanding to China next season".
  2. ^ "CWHL unveils Chinese expansion franchise for 2017-18". June 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Berkman, Seth (5 June 2017). "Canadian Women's Hockey League to Add a Team From China" – via
  4. ^ "Red Star Women's Ice Hockey Name Rob Morgan as Associate Head Coach – Kunlan Red Star".
  5. ^ "Forward Courtney Turner taken with first pick in CWHL draft". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  6. ^ "Kristyn Capizzano And Alex Carpenter Taken In 2017 CWHL Draft". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  7. ^ "Game #: 5 - Saturday, October 21, 2017". CWHL. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  8. ^ Kevin McGran (25 March 2018). "Laura Stacey's overtime winner gives Markham its first Clarkson Cup". Toronto Star. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Game # 0 - Sunday, March 25, 2018". CWHL. 25 March 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Bob Deraney named head coach of Kunlun Red Stars". 12 June 2018.
  11. ^ Maura Sun (3 August 2018). "Kunlun Red Stars Announce Team Name Change". Canadian Women's Hockey League. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Final Public Communication" (PDF). CWHL. 2 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Kunlun Red Stars Vanke Rays officially joining the Russian Women's Hockey League". The Ice Garden. 25 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Brian Idalski tabbed as next head coach of the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays". The Ice Garden. 12 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays Elite Prospects". Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Raty Named Top CWHL Goaltender". Minnesota Golden Gophers Athletics. 23 March 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  18. ^ Grant Salzano (24 March 2018). "Kelli Stack Named CWHL MVP". SB Nation: BC Interruption. Retrieved 8 August 2018.

External linksEdit