Ontario Hockey League grad Ethan Werek has joined what is fast becoming Ontario’s team in the KHL, Kunlun Red Star. The former member of the Kingston Frontenacs has signed with the Beijing, China club for the 2017-18 season. The team is coached by hockey legend Mike Keenan. Other OHL alumni on the roster include Jesse Blacker, Wojtek Wolski and Brett Bellemore.
Ethan Werek played three years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2008-09 to 2010-11, all with the Kingston Frontenacs. Werek was the ninth overall pick by Kingston at the 2007 OHL Priority Selection. Over his three seasons, Ethan scored 86 goals and assisted on 94 for 180 points in 170 regular season games. He added eight points in nine playoff games.
In his rookie season with the Frontenacs, Werek notched 32 goals. In his final season, 2010-11, he was on pace for a 35 goal season but appeared in just 47 of Kingston’s 68 games, recording 24 goals.
The New York Rangers selected Ethan in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, 47th overall, after just one year in the OHL. He has played pro hockey since 2011-12 in the American Hockey League and ECHL. A veteran of the AHL, Werek has appeared in 330 regular season games but just a single Calder Cup playoff game.
In 2016-17, Werek played two games in the ECHL with the Orlando Solar Bears while playing 55 with the Texas Stars in the AHL. With the Stars, he scored 13 and assisted on 14 for 27 points. He did not play in the post season.
Kunlun Red Star
Kunlun Red Star competed in the Russia based KHL for the first time in 2016-17 as an expansion franchise. The campaign has to be considered a success with Red Star reaching the post season before losing the Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the opening round of the playoffs. The club plays out of the LeSports Center in Beijing, China, an 18,000 seat venue that opened in 2008.
Also on the roster for 2017-18 are Wojtek Wolski, Jesse Blacker and Brett Bellemore. Wolski played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2002-03 to 2005-06 with the Brampton Battalion. Blacker played four years from 2007-08 to 2010-11 with the Windsor Spitfires and Owen Sound Attack. Bellemore also played four years in the OHL, from 2005-06 to 2008-09, with the Plymouth Whalers.
Head coach Mike Keenan coached the Peterborough Petes to an OHL championship and appearance at the Memorial Cup tournament in 1979-80. He last coached in the KHL with Metallurg Magnitogorsk from 2013-14 to 2015-16, leading the team to a Gagarin Cup championship in his first season.
Ethan Werek OHL Stats