Johnny Boychuk Signs in Austria
And Johnny Boychuk makes 11.
Boychuk has decided to play for EC Red Bull Salzberg in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga of Austria, the country’s highest-tiered league.
The team was originally founded in 1977 and took on the Red Bull sponsorship name in 2000. They won the league’s championship in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007.
Boychuk is not the only NHL player to go to EC Red Bull Salzberg by any stretch of the word. Toby Enstrom (Winnipeg Jets) was there, David Clarkson (New Jersey Devils) is there too and Alex Auld (Ottawa Senators) is part of the goalie coalition. Boychuk also isn’t the lone Canadian on the roster: there are 14 players who hail from the Great White North playing with Salzberg right now, so Boychuk will make it 15.
Note that Enstrom has apparently left and Boychuk will take his place as Salzberg’s defenseman of foreign import.
Out of a 12-team league, Salzburg currently sits in ninth place with 20 points from 20 games played. By comparison, the top team, UPC Vienna Capitals, has 31 points from 20 games played.
Among the teams in the Austrian top league is a KHL team, the KHL Medvescak Zagreb, who sit at third in the standings. This team is actually located in nearby Croatia, but still competes in the Austrian league.
In Austria, the primary language spoken is German, although many people are generally able to speak English too. Consider the New York Islanders‘ Michael Grabner, Austrian by birth, who speaks English very well. (He’s in Austria too, playing for his hometown team in Villach.) Red Bull’s website even has a full English version.
Red Bull’s next game is tonight against the Moser Medical Graz 99ers, but that probably won’t be Boychuk’s debut.