Canada-Russia hockey rivalry to be renewed in Charlottetown

The best young hockey players from Russia will pit their skills against a select team of QMJHL players in Charlottetown in November.

Russian junior team will play against Q-League select team

Forward Alex Dostie tries his best to avoid a check from a Russian defender. (Charlottetown Islanders)

The best young hockey players from Russia will pit their skills against a select team of QMJHL players in Charlottetown in November.

The 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series, hosted by the Canadian Hockey League, will be coming to P.E.I. for the first time.

'You've got to play hard'

"We're really excited," said Craig Foster, president of operations with the Charlottetown Islanders.

"Just to be considered to be one of the host cities, we couldn't be more excited. It's going to be a nationally televised event. We're going to have people in Charlottetown visiting from all around Canada and Russia as well, so we're really looking forward to hosting the event."

Islanders defenseman Nicolas Meloche says the intensity is high when facing Russia. (Charlottetown Islanders)

The event, which started in 2003, brings the Russian National Junior Team to play in six cities against select squads from the Western Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Charlottetown Islanders captain Guillaume Brisebois, has laced up his skates against Russia three times.

"It's exciting games," he explained. "It's fast hockey, so you've got to play hard. "They're really good. They're a skilled team, a lot of talent and they come hard and they compete."

'Exceptional work ethic'

Islanders forward Alex Dostie and defenceman Nicolas Meloche, have also represented the QMJHL in the six game event.

"It's an honour to represent your team there and to play for your league," Meloche said. "It was a really nice experience."

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League select team celebrates a goal against Russia in Baie Comeau in 2016. The series will come to P.E.I. for the first time in 2017. (QMJHL Media)

"They have an exceptional work ethic and they've got a ton of skill," added Dostie. "They play a little bit different, so you can just watch them and try and learn a little bit about them. It's cool."

Both countries will use the series as an opportunity to evaluate potential players who could wear the maple leaf at the World Junior Hockey Championship.  

'The best of the best'

"Hockey Canada uses it as an evaluation tool to evaluate their players to see who they should invite to their main camp going to the World Junior Tournament, so you'll see all those here from Hockey Canada," said Foster.

"They'll be here watching. You'll have all the top scouts, all the NHL general managers, everyone you can imagine, will be here watching these guys, because they want to see the best on best."

The best of the best from the Quebec Major Hockey League and the Russian National Junior Team will be on display when both sides face off in the fifth game in the series Nov. 14 in Charlottetown.