BEIJING — The most popular hockey player in town, if Chinese media attention is any measure, was Derek Dun. The Bruins pleased local fans by signing Dun, a Canadian of Chinese heritage, to a tryout contract. Dun got in a few practice drills Monday and will be the spare netminder for Wednesday’s game.
“Ah, I thought I did OK,“ said Dun, whose Thai mother and Cantonese father moved to Surrey, B.C., when he was young.
“If I faced 20 shots I might’ve saved 11. It was exciting to be out there.”
Dun, who came up through the BCHL, spent three years as a reserve at Northern Michigan before transferring to the University of British Columbia. He now plays for Kunlun Red Star of the VHL (Supreme Hockey League), the Kontinental Hockey League’s second division. The team is owned by ORG Packaging, which sponsors the Bruins and NHL and owns the rink at which they are practicing this week. When the parties in question wanted an honorary local Chinese NHLer, Dun was a natural choice.
Two years ago, he was interning as a data analyst at a commercial real estate firm in Vancouver after graduating from UBC. “I thought I’d be a career beer leaguer,” he said.
He attended a KHL camp for Chinese players and earned a minor league deal, which will continue after this Bruins stint. His parents, who live in Vancouver, couldn’t make the trip. His grandparents on both sides, who gave him the Chinese name Duan Shineng at birth, will be cheering from the southern province of Guangdong and from Taipei.
“I saw him yesterday, but I didn’t realize he was the third goalie,” Tuukka Rask said. “He was on the bus with us and everything. He’ll have some stories to tell, that’s for sure.”