Claude Lemieux Jumped from the China Sharks to the San Jose Sharks

Martin AverySenior Writer IFebruary 9, 2009

NHL super-pest and agitator Claude Lemieux started his comeback with the China Sharks.

He began the season playing for the China Sharks of the Asia League Ice Hockey before signing a contract with the Worcester Sharks. After scoring two goals and six points in 14 games with Worcester, Lemieux signed a two-way contract with the San Jose Sharks in 2008.

On Jan. 19, 2009, the San Jose Sharks recalled Lemieux to the NHL. Two other former NHLers, Wade Flaherty and Steve McKenna, are still playing with the China Sharks.

The Chinese Ice Hockey Association, founded in 1957, is a national non-governmental organization with headquarters is in Beijing, and a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

China’s national men’s hockey team has worked its way up from Division II to Division I of Pool B for the World Ice Hockey Championships. They compete with Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Israel, and Serbia.

The People’s Republic also has some professional teams.

The China Sharks are based in Beijing, and belong to the Asia League Ice Hockey.
In 2007, the Snow Leopards from Changchun City merged Hosa, of Beijing, to form the Sharks and they are affiliated with the San Jose Sharks of the NHL.

The NHL team sent five players and three coaches to the Chinese team in exchange for the team naming rights.

The Asia League started in 2007 with four teams from Japan, two from Korea, and one from China. Japan's entries are: the Nippon Paper Cranes, Oji Paper, Nikko Ice Bucks, and the Seibu Prince Rabbits of Tokyo. Korea has Anyang Halla and Kangwong.
The Anyang Halla had Essa Tikkanen as their player/coach in 2005.

Shane Endicott, drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins, is second in the league in goals, and third in total points as a member of the Oji Eagles.

China Sharks netminder Wade Flaherty was recently named Best Goalkeeper in the Asia League Ice Hockey Hockey Night in China might sound crazy but anyone who watched the Olympic Games knows the country is serious about sports so maybe it will not be too long before a hockey player from China makes his way to the NHL.