Former Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Zimeng Chen is headed to the 2022 Winter Olympics with the Chinese national men’s hockey team.
Then going by the first name Simon, Chen spent two seasons with the Caps between 2016 and 2018, playing 104 games and compiling 14 points on three goals and 11 assists.
The Beijing born-and-raised son of Capitals owner Ray Zhang went on to attend the University of Alabama-Huntsville in 2018-19, but didn’t play any games. He now plays for Beijing-based Kunlun Red Star in the Kontinental Hockey League where he has no points in six games this season.
Chen spent 2019-20 in the KHL’s farm league, the Supreme Hockey League (VHL), recording one assist in 30 contests. He previously played for China at the 2014 World U18 Championships (Div. 2B) and 2019 World Championships (Div. 2A).
Chen is one of four former BCHL players on Team China, along with former Vernon Viper Cory Kane, Victoria Grizzlies grad Juncheng “Eddie” Yan and Coquitlam Express alum Brandon Yip.
Making its first-ever appearance at an Olympic men’s hockey tournament, China is in a group with Canada, the U.S. and Germany. China will open the tournament against the U.S. on Thursday, Feb. 10, then play Germany on Feb. 12, and Canada on Feb. 13.
There is also a noteworthy BCHL contingent on Team Canada: Daniel Carr, Ben Street and Adam Tambellini all skated in the BCHL, as did Canada alternate Kent Johnson.