Zach Yuen was a 4th round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft which was held at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota. It was a draft which saw some notable names make their way into the NHL such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1st), Nikita Kucherov (58th) and Johnny Gaudreau (104th).
While Zach is currently unsigned from any NHL team, he is leaving his mark on the hockey world. He was originally born in Vancouver, BC from immigrant parents who were born in China. He toiled around the CHL / AHL / ECHL circuit before moving overseas to play hockey. Since 2016, Zach has suited up for the Kunlun Red Star of the Kontinental Hockey League. I actually have never had any success sending to Russia (there is apparently a ban on sending mail there as per Canada Post) but Zach sent this really awesome looking promo card back to me. This likely will be the only KHL hockey card I will ever get signed but gives me an opportunity to do a bit of research on them.
For those who don’t know much about the KHL, it’s a league based mostly out of Russia with a few other countries involved in the league as well. They have teams from China (Kunlun Red Star), Belarus (Dinamo Minsk) and Slovakia (Slovan Bratislava), among others. Many top Russian players have gone from the NHL to play in the KHL. Although they may be past their prime, players like Pavel Daysyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk (now back in the NHL!) and even Winnipeg native, Nigel Dawes. I don’t think there is any doubt that the KHL is the 2nd best hockey league in the world.
Normally, race shouldn’t play a part into hockey but Zach was the first Chinese born player to score a regular season and post season goals in the KHL. He’s definitely paving the way for expanding the game, not only in China but for Asians all over the world.
Gettin’ the auto
I got this autograph the same way a few of my other non-NHL methods have achieved. I sent a few cards of Zach in an Amerks jersey in which he sent this absolute amazing card of him in the KHL. He returned my mail in a quick 22 days but as with most of these direct messages, I’ll keep the address private.
Zach, if you ever read this, thank you for signing this card and responding to me over social media!
Here are a few links of Zach, making history for all Asians playing hockey.
A video review of Zach Yuen
Here is a great video of Zach Yuen scoring the first goal by a Chinese player in the KHL playoffs.