SCHENECTADY — The Union College men’s hockey team doesn’t even have a schedule yet, but still suffered the first loss of the 2020-21 season this weekend.
Senior forward Parker Foo has left the team to sign a two-year pro contract with the Kunlun Red Star of the Kontinental Hockey League, joining his brother, former Union star Spencer Foo, on the roster of the only one of 23 KHL teams based in China.
A 2017 fifth-round pick (144th overall) of the Chicago Blackhawks, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Foo played three seasons with the Dutchmen, missing most of the first half of last season while recovering from shoulder surgery.
He returned to play 20 games with three goals and four assists for a career total of 9-19-28 in 88 games at Union.
The 22-year-old Foo played in a 3-2 overtime loss to Salavat Yulaev on Saturday in which Spencer Foo, a Calgary Flames draft pick who played with Kunlun last season, had a goal and an assist.
“Unfortunately, we found out a few days before school started,” Union head coach Rick Bennett said. “It was just one of those situations where he had an opportunity to play with his brother Spencer and also maybe play in the Olympics down the road.
“It’s just one of those things where everything added up and he made the decision to go.”
Kunlun Red Star is one of 23 KHL teams, 18 of which are in Russia.
Red Star’s roster also includes Jake Chelios, son of NHL Hall of Famer Chris Chelios, and a player with whom Foo is familiar, Alex Riche. He played four ECAC Hockey seasons with Princeton from 2015-19.
The Blackhawks retain Foo’s signing rights until Aug. 15, 2021.
Despite his injury-hampered 2019-20 season, Foo was expected to be a big part of whatever success the Dutchmen have this season.
“He was going to come back and be one of the top forwards,” Bennett said. “That’s where he was penciled right from the start. He really started to pick it up last year. It’s unfortunate, with his injury, that he came in a little bit later than halfway through the year.
“But I thought he really did a nice job on the power play in front of the net. As a staff, we were hoping he was going to come back, get his degree and really be a major impact with the team. Unfortunately, we’re not going to see that. We wish him well.”
While waiting for a 2020-21 schedule to be worked out, the Dutchmen will have their first on-ice practice next Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Messa Rink.