SMU Huskies

WILKINSON SIGNS PRO DEAL TO PLAY WITH VANKE RAYS

WILKINSON SIGNS PRO DEAL TO PLAY WITH VANKE RAYS

After completing her five years of eligibility with SMU (USport), Kiana Wilkinson wasn't ready wasn't ready to hang up her skates. Even with three AUS Championships, a national bronze medal, an AUS Community Service award, and first team AUS and USport all-star honours, she felt there was still more to accomplish and her love for the game was still more than strong enough to keep playing. So she decided to sign a pro deal with the Kunlun Red Star Vanke Rays of the Russian WHL. 

 

The Chinese-based Kunlun Red Star Vanke Rays formerly played out of the CWHL, and now play in the Russian WHL where they travel to play a 30 game schedule. The schedule this year will see the Vanke Rays play the first half of their season based just south of Moscow, Russia, and then hopefully moving to Shenzhen, China where the team is based out of, for the second half.

 

"With COVID coming at the time it did, everything was a big question mark for me. Not knowing that continuing to play hockey would even be an option, I was given the opportunity to sign with the KRS Vanke Rays for the upcoming season. I actually had offers in Sweden and in Hungary as well, but the choice was not difficult to make as two of my past teammates from my junior days, Leah Lum and Emily Costales, were on the team last year. They speak very highly of the organization, team, coach and the overall experience." 

 

Nothing is set in stone for departure or start dates, however, Wilkinson expects to leave near the beginning of September and get things started with the team by October.

 

"Travelling the world while getting paid to play hockey at a high level, is a dream come true, especially in women's hockey! I owe many thanks to my family, friends, coaches and teammates for helping me get to the level I am at today. I am looking forward to getting to Russia and getting things started."