8th annual Junior Club World Cup will kick off in Sochi on August 18th. Junior Hockey League presents the participants of the tournament. Today we’re going to talk about EC Red Bull Salzburg from Austria.
Red Bull is a major junior team of EC Red Bull Salzburg. Teemu Levijoki is the head-coach of the team. Red Bull played in Junior Hockey League for two seasons.
Salzburg’s junior team was founded in 2003 and have won three U20 national championship titles in Austria since then. In the summer of 2013 Red Bull founded another – more ‘improved’ – junior team and got accepted into Junior Hockey League. The team featured players almost from every corner of Europe. Red Bull roster boasted not only Austrians, but also Czechs, Slovaks, Germans, Slovenians, Italians, Swedes, Finns and one Swiss. There was even one Brazilian player on the team! Forward Leonardo Furera had dual citizenship – Swiss and Brazilian. It was no other than Red Bull that JHC Spartak Moscow goaltender Igor Shestyorkin scored a goal on. Austrian team was trailing behind in Moscow and pulled their netminder late in regulation, when Shestyorkin got the puck, swung it all across the ice and hit the open cage.
In February Red Bull achieved success in the new league. Salzburg captain Jan Polata won JHC Challene Cup as a member of Team West. Notably, it was Polata who scored Team West’s fourth goal in the game, paving the road to a 5-3 win. A month later Red Bull faced HK Riga in the first round of Kharlamov Cup Playoffs. The series was a real rollercoaster – Austrians lost 3-0 and then won 3-2 the next day. Same story happened in Salzburg – Riga enjoyed a blowout 9-1 win and then was edged 1-0 in Game 4. It all boiled down to deciding Game 5, which was held in Riga. Home team won 5-2 and proceeded to next round.
Salzburg were not as successful in the following season. They won just 16 games out of 56. Interestingly enough, Red Bull scored more goals than the year before but also allowed much more. As a result, they finished 9th in the North-West division and missed the playoffs. However, Austrians needed just one point to get to compete for the cup – that’s how tight it was in the bottom half of the table. At the 2014 Junior Club World Cup Salzburg couldn’t make it past round robin and finished 9th in the end.
Red Bull’s assistant coach is Russian Andrei Lavrov. He had to quit hockey at the age of 16 because of health issues and switched to coaching instead. He focused on learning skating techniques and he’s continuous participation at Crashed Ice tournaments helped him in that regard. Today Lavrov is considered the top Russian athlete at that sport.
Salzburg is the fourth largest city in Austria with a population of around 150,000. The city is considered as one of the main tourist attractions of the country with beautiful landscapes – Salzburg is located right at the Alpine mountains – gorgeous architecture and rich history. In the 13th century Sazlburg was even a sovereign princedom and further a state, which existed up until the Napoleonic wars.
Teams who come to Red Bull’s home can’t go past Hohensalzburg fortress located on top of the mountain. The fortress, accessible by funicular, is considered as of one of the town’s symbols. Salzburg is divided into two parts – New Town and Old Town, both of which will not render tourists disappointed. Among its sightseeing sites are not just squares, palaces and medieval cathedrals, but also such unusual places such Dwarf Garden, which features dwarf statues.
Salzburg is the hometown of writer Stefan Zweig and composer Wolgang Amadeus Mozart. Today the city is considered as one of the main musical centers of the world. There’s a house-museum of Mozart and Mozart University. Famous Salzburg Music Festival takes place every year.
Eisarena Salzburg was built in 1960 and it has a capacity for 3,200 fans. Both professional and junior Red Bull teams play their home games at the rink.
There aren’t any bright stars on the team but there are several solid players of Austrian championship. For instance, 22-year-old Patrick Hagler, who leads Slazburg in all-time scoring. Other than him, Arturs Irbe and Juha Lind also played for Salzburg. During the 2012 National Hockey League lockout Red Bull roster boasted IIHF World Championship gold medalist Derick Brassard, bronze medalists Tobias Enström and David Clarkson, who is currently on this year’s Stanley Cup runners-up Vegas Golden Knights.
Top scorer – Alijaz Predan. 34 games, 17 goals, 26 assists
Most goals – Alwin Schuster. 37 games, 18 goals
Top defenseman – Paul Stapelfeldt. 33 games, 11 goals, 12 assists
Top goaltender – Marks Dvorkins. 24 games, Goals Against Average – 2.21