Brian Idalski's first season coaching a China-based pro hockey team has taken a major turn.
Idalski, who coached the UND women's team for 10 years until it was eliminated due to budget cuts in 2017, is coaching the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays, who play in the Russian-based Women's Hockey League.
Because of the coronavirus outbreak in China, the Vanke Rays have been moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, for the immediate future. There's a chance the Vanke Rays could spend the rest of the season there.
The Vanke Rays are normally based in Shenzhen, China, which is located about 625 miles south of Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. As of Monday evening, more than 1,000 people have died from it, according to the New York Times.
It has been a successful first season for Idalski, who has built his team largely through a mix of Olympic stars, former UND players and Chinese Olympic-team contenders.
His former Olympic stars include goalie Noora Raty of Finland, Megan Bozek of the United States and Alex Carpenter of the United States. Carpenter recently participated in the NHL's All-Star weekend.
His former UND players include forward Amy Menke, forward Rebekah Kolstad and defenseman Taylor Flaherty.
Menke has six goals and 16 points in 20 games. Kolstad has seven goals and 12 points in 23 games. Flaherty has two goals and four points in 24 games.
In Shenzhen, Idalski also re-united with assistant coach Max Markowitz, who started his coaching career as the UND's video coach. Markowitz previously worked with St. John's of the American Hockey League, Tulsa in the ECHL and Jacksonville in the ECHL.
The Vanke Rays are currently in second place in the WHL with 55 points, only behind back-to-back champion Agidel's 62 points. Third-place Biryusa has 42 points.