Greater Victoria bantams to compete in Russia

Tretiak Cup squad will also include players from Japan, Czech Republic

If English communication proves to be a challenge, Craig Didmon may just have to rely on the language of hockey when he coaches a pair of international players in this year’s Tretiak Cup (Aug. 2-7).

The Moscow-based tournament, which pits 2004-born players from across the globe against each other, will feature a squad of mostly of Victoria-area bantam players coached by Didmon. But after an ad was posted seeking a couple of other players, Didmon got a response from Maxim Kosten of the Czech Republic and Yuji Sawabe of Japan.

“I think they’ll have to get comfortable and adapt. They’re a very good calibre…I think having an international flavour on the team is going to be another learning experience and an added bonus too,” he said.

Players will get a chance to visit the Kremlin and take in a Russian Circus, but other than some sightseeing the trip promises to be a competitive tournament against mostly-European competition.

“It’s a AAA tournament and we are one of the two teams representing Canada,” he said, noting that a team from Ontario will be heading over as well. “We’re going to have to adapt to the bigger rink and it’ll be foreign for them. We’ve got to put all the distractions aside and hopefully get down to business.

The top four teams in the round robin will move on to a four-team playoff round.

Vladislav Tretiak, the former Russian goaltending star for whom the tournament is named, will hand out trophies at the end of the tournament, meaning the Island squad may have a chance to meet a living hockey legend.

The trip is the start of a busy month of August for Didmon, who will leave for Iceland at the tournament’s conclusion in order to coach atom and peewee players on a 10-day tour through northern Europe.

He’ll be back on the Island on Aug. 18, just enough time to get ready for Victoria Grizzlies training camp, which opens Aug. 21.

“It’s just a matter of getting my energy rechanneled and then get going,” he said.

To keep tabs on the bantam boys, following the Victoria Grizzlies on Twitter (@VicGrizzhockey)

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Twitter: @joelgazette