KHL Medveščak returns to the ice today in preparation of the 2015/16 KHL season.
The new season format takes shape this year with six preseason games that start today against Banska Bystrica followed by the start of the regular season on Aug. 24.
Each team will play every other team twice, once at home and once on the road, giving a total of 54 games, plus 6 additional games (3 at home, 3 on the road) to be played by each team against rival clubs from its own conference. Thus, each team will play a total of 60 games in the regular season.
Medveščak’s first regular-season game will fall on Aug 26 against Amur.
The Bears have a few familiar faces training with them in the preseason with the return of Swedish second-division star, Ivan Šijan and current member of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, Borna Rendulić.
Šijan and Rendulić grew up playing next to each other on the Bears and return for some off-season training with their former club.
Rendulić will spend some more time in Zagreb before heading to Slovenia where he will participate in a training camp hosted by Slovenia’s own, Anže Kopitar where several other NHL players will be training and where Rendulić will continue to develop his skills.
Rendulić also spoke with Ante Margetić for a story on Medveščak.com and mentioned his time with NHL legend and Croatian-Canadian, Joe Sakic.
“Yeah, it’s unbelievable how approachable he is, you never have a feeling like you’re talking to one of the best hockey players ever, he’s done a lot to help me adjust to me to the life in America and the NHL,” Rendulić said in the interview.
Rendulić also explained how much of a fan of the Croatian National Soccer team Sakic is.
“You wouldn’t believe that Joe Sakic stays up all night watching football every time our national team is playing, every morning after a game he would come up to me and ask me if I watched the game and then we would comment on the players and the result. He speaks very little Croatian, but he’s proud of his ancestry and often spends his summer on the Croatian seaside,” Rendulić added.
The Bears play their first preseason game today at 11 am EST and play again tomorrow against Slovan Bratislava at 12 pm EST.