The Canterbury Red Devils have announced the signing of Ukrainian forward Viktor Zakharov for the 2018 NZIHL season.
The 6-foot-5 forward played 37 games in the KHL, including playoffs, during the 2013-14 season for HC Donbass. With the team now currently playing in the Ukrainian Hockey League (UHL), Zakharov has played a major role with the team, serving as captain while averaging over a point per game.
In 168 career UHL games, Zakharov has tallied 92 goals, including 16 in the playoffs, plus 95 career assists.
The Kiev native also regularly represents Ukraine at the international level as their captain. Currently competing in Hungary at the IIHF’s Division 1 – Group B World Championships, they will be looking to return to Division 1A after being relegated in 2017.
Red Devils head coach Anatoly Khorozov, whom is also of Ukrainian descent, is making the most of his personal connections and he’s proud of the team’s latest import signing.
“Viktor has an impressive skill set and he has a class too. We wanted to bring in an energy player, someone who is going to bring great work ethic, and we think we have found the guy with Viktor,” explained Anatoly.
“He has proven he can play at the highest level and having coached Viktor in the past, I know that he leads by example – he has a great hockey IQ, great speed and works hard every shift. He is also a great teammate, which is essential for this group.”
The signing of Zakharov rounds out the Red Devils’ set allocation of four imports that also includes Vladislav Balakun, Sergei Piskunov, and Vsevolod Tolstushko.
Canterbury will open the season on May 26th versus the Botany Swarm at Auckland’s Paradice Botany Downs with the intention of improving upon last season’s fifth-placed finish.
Check out the puck-handling skills of the Red Devils’ latest signing: