Valeri Zelepukin, a Stanley Cup winner with the New Jersey Devils in 1995, will be among the players from 22 teams competing in the Dubai International Ice Hockey Tournament at Al Nasr Leisureland in Dubai from today until Saturday.
The 43 year old Russian played in the National Hockey League for the Devils, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks from 1991 to 2001, and made 595 regular season appearances.
Zelepukin will represent the Russian team Arctic, the winners of the last two Elite division titles.
The tournament, organised by the Dubai Mighty Camels, has drawn teams from Russia, Canada, Italy, Finland, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE. They will compete in four different categories – the Elite, and the A, B and C divisions.
“The tournament is popular and has been going on annually since the early 1990s,” Ron Murphy, the chairman of the organising committee, said.
“There are 52 games scheduled over three-and-a-half days. There will be a round robin to determine the placement of the teams within each division followed by a play-off round to determine the champions of each division.
“Arctic from Russia have won the Elite Championship two years in a row and have a very good team with a lot of former Russian professional players playing for them.”
The Elite group consists of Arctic and Fenix of Russia, Redneck Express from Canada, the Black Tigers of Italy, the FBC Lions Dubai made up of players from Finland, the Abu Dhabi Scorpions and the Dubai Mighty Camels Blacks and Whites.