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Visiting German Junior Hockey Team with local connections

Visiting German Junior Hockey Team with local connections

Copps Coliseum was only a couple of months old when the Soviet Union stunned Canada to win the gold medal at the 1986 World Junior Championship in Hamilton.

Monday night, the son of one of the Soviet stars showed up to play with the Mannheim Eagles junior club in Burlington in an exhibition game against the Burlington Cougars.

Artyom Khaidarov, 16, and Philip Hecht, 19 , were two of the most recognizable names on the German team’s roster.

Artyom’s father Ravil scored one of the four Soviet goals in a 4-1 victory over Canada that turned the tournament in the USSR’s favor in front of more than 17,000 shocked fans.

Hecht, who stands 6-5, is the son of Jochen Hecht, a former captain of the Buffalo Sabres who played for Germany in three Olympics.

Burlington won the game easily 6-1, but it was more of a warmup for the season for both teams. The Cougars opened training camp just last week when the temperature was in the 90s and many of the German players are quite young – 17 and 18 year olds.

Six of them played for their country in the recent Hlinka-Gretzky Cup summer tournament in Alberta.

The pre-season test was arranged through Burlington coach Mark Jooris, who played several seasons in the German League and was its scoring champion with the Wedemark Scorpions in the season of 1996-97.

Later Jooris had his number raised to the rafters of the J.L Grightmire Arena in Dundas in 2015 after recording more than 600 points over 10 seasons with the Dundas Real McCoys.

Burlington Cougars coach Mark Jooris is dwarfed by Philip Hecht (right) and Artyom Khaidarov of the Mannheim Eagles.

Dundas coach Don Robertson called him the best hockey player he has seen who didn’t make the NHL.

Mannheim’s coach Luigi Calce also was familiar to Burlington fans. He scored 47 goals and 115 points in just 49 games with the Cougars in 1994-95. A native of North York, he had previously spent three seasons with the Owen Sound Platers of the OHL.

The Eagles also will be playing friendlies with the Thorold Black Hawks and St. Andrew’s College and will take part in a Global Invitational Tournament in Aurora at the end of the week.  


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