Zach Yuen made some history Thursday, becoming the first Chinese player to score for the KHL’s Chinese expansion team, the Kunlan Red Star.
In his 23rd game of the season, Yuen redirected a pass from teammate Tomas Marcinko eight minutes into the first period for the game’s only goal. It was his third point of the season and the Red Star went on to beat Amur 1-0 for their 11th win of the season.
Yuen is one of four Chinese players to have suited up for the Red Star this season, but is the only one averaging more than five minutes of ice time, logging just over 11 minutes per game.
Yuen was the first ever defenseman of Chinese descent to be drafted when the Winnipeg Jets made him a fourth-round pick in 2011. The 23-year-old blueliner had a three-game stint with the Toronto Marlies in 2013-14 and played three seasons in the ECHL before he signed with the Red Star this summer.
Although he was born in Vancouver, both of Yuen’s parents were born in China and immigrated to Canada.
In 2015, New York Islanders’ sixth-round pick Andong Song became the first Chinese-born player drafted to the NHL. Song moved from Beijing to North America at age nine and is playing this season with the USHL’s Madison Capitols.
The Beijing-based Red Star are now 11-12-0 on the season, and currently sit one point back of a playoff spot in the KHL’s Eastern Conference.