Len Catling, UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER -- Two players from the UBC men's hockey 2016-17 roster, Luke Lockhart and Derek Dun, are off to play in the Kontinental Hockey League's HC Kunlun Red Star (Beijing) organization.
Lockhart is a Burnaby, B.C., native who was a top-six forward for UBC last year. He played his junior hockey with the Western Hockey League's Seattle Thunderbirds.
"It's a great opportunity and a great league. Obviously, I'm leaving a bit behind here but it's a great opportunity and I look forward to it," says Lockhart. "I'm going to miss my teammates here at UBC. I've been with some of them for four years, so there is a lot of great friendships there."
From Surrey, B.C., Dun was the starting goalie for UBC in 2016-17 and played the previous two seasons for Northern Michigan in NCAA. Before going to Northern Michigan, he played for the Cowichan Valley Capitals and the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL.
"I'm pretty excited, but a little nervous at the same time. It's kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I'm just going to go in and keep an open mind," says Dun. "It's a nice time to go in and continue my hockey careers and play professionally. I'm hoping to get fluent in Mandarin and just really learn the language and get used to everyday life there."
Both players did enough to impress the Kunlun Red Star's executive when they held a scouting camp at 8 Rinks Burnaby in June.
Former Vancouver Canuck head coach and Stanley Cup champion, 'Iron' Mike Keenan is the head coach of Red Star.
"Both Luke and Derek are very talented and hard-working student-athletes. It's nice to see that they have been rewarded with a chance to play professional hockey, especially such an exciting opportunity in Beijing, China," says UBC head coach Sven Butenschon. "We will follow their careers closely and wish them all the best in this adventure."
Both players are of Chinese descent, but born in Canada.
UBC hockey alumnus Jason Yee of Victoria, B.C., will join Dun and Lockhart.
Photo credit: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds