07-27-2005, 05:29 AM
Asia League 2005-2006 season will be bigger (and hopefully more exciting) than the previous season with some key changes.
The only Russian team, Khavarovsk Golden Amur have withdrawn from the league (and the regular Russian league) from financial troubles. But two new teams have joined to make this a 9 team league! Expansion is obviously preferable to contraction in this new fragile state of this league.
The Swedish team Nordic Vikings based in Beijing should provide decent competition for the Asian clubs, and hopefully will be able to contribute towards stregthening Asian hockey in general, and particularly China.
Number of import players allowed has been changed to hopefully achieve more parity in a league that saw a team almost not win a game through the whole season. This coupled with making Japanese, Chinese, and Korean players not count as imports should hopefully help in making the league more interesting and exciting while improving Asian hockey.
Shjon Podein has signed with the Nikko-Kobe Ice Bucks! (Japanese press release)
Podein has been rumoured to be involved with the Bucks for the last couple of years, and he has finally arrived. Hopefully he'll invest in the cash strapped club team as well. I'm looking forward to seeing him play.
So, all in all, this should be an interesting 2nd year of the Asian League. Now that the teams have been announced, hopefully the schedule will be finalized and announced soon as well.
Baron Von Shark
07-30-2005, 06:44 PM
That's interesting. I wonder how the attendance is / will be.
08-02-2005, 11:53 PM
Attendance varied widely last year. About 1500-3000 for big drawing games in Japan, Khavarovsk, and the opening Chinese derby. But 500 people or less at many other games, especially in Seoul. Hopefully having a Korean derby will increase attendance there, but fans have to start being outward looking and pay attention to international matchups.
Baron Von Shark
08-03-2005, 03:58 AM
Do us a favor and post frequent updates! Thanks.
08-03-2005, 06:22 PM
Has interest in hockey been increasing in Asia, especially since this league has been created?
Regardless, I hope the NHL gets into this picture; they should be helping fund this league, sending over coaches to give workshops (seems to have helped increase Isreal's play on the ice), and taking steps to help grow the game there from a grassroots level. They should talk to the cities that currently have teams, see if they can help fund the construction of more public rinks for ice hockey.
People might ask what is the point, but really it's all about growing the talent pool for NHL teams to draft from, if hockey took off in Asia the benefits would not only be seen on the ice in the NHL, and in their pocketbooks because new marketing oppurtunities that would be opened up by having a Chinese and or Japanese hockey star.
08-04-2005, 12:00 PM
I think you're reading too much into the attendance records when you assess Korean pro hockey. The venue in Korea is actually not in Seoul, it's in a satellite city called Anyang. Further, the rink is in a "multiplex" and was designed for short-track competitions. It doesn't take long before it's standing room only. I'm not sure what the seating is, but it can't be much more than 500. It's not at all a "hockey" rink. Not the most attractive venue when you're trying to bring new fans into the fold.
08-04-2005, 08:58 PM
I've actually seen a game at Anyang. Nice newish complex, though the rink gets overshadowed by the multipurpose stadium and gymnasium and all.
The game I went to against the now defunct(?) Khavarovsk Golden Amur (damn they had a cool uniform..) had an announced attendance of about 500 people, and there were plenty of unoccupied seats, let alone standing room. I reckon that place actually fits about 1000 spectators. But you're right, it's way out in the suburbs, not an ideal location.
Go to Tokyo a lot - will check out
08-18-2005, 12:49 AM
Kangwon Land, one of the Koran teams, has signed Dan Donnette from the Central Hockey League's Amarillo Gorillas. I know he's no Shjon Podein in terms of Star Power, but he's a solid AA player who should help lend some visibility to the league among North American players:
08-18-2005, 10:05 PM
Thanks for the info Dr.Hook! Gorillas open against the Laredo Bucks eh :)
Apparently Halla's new Czech coach Otakar Vejvoda is bringing three Czech players with him, one of them being an extraleaguer and former national team player, and an older Nedved! I should go to the Czech board to get more information.
Thanks to Mr.Bondra, I found the three players stats on HockeyDB.com, great site.
Couple of veterans, one youngster. Two defensemen and a forward. Nedved and Martinec look like they've had some down and/or injured season in the last few years, so hopefully they can regain some of their form and stay healthy.
08-26-2005, 03:59 PM
A friend of mine, Burt Henderson plays for Oji. Any idea how they'll do this year. He seems to think they'll be pretty good. They didn't bring back Tavis Hansen. They replaced him with Joe Murphy (not that one). This will be also be Dusty Imoo's last year as well.
08-26-2005, 10:33 PM
They were battling for the last playoff spot with Halla in the first half of last season, but Oji came on really strong in the second half of last season. So, if they continue their good performance from the end of last year, they should be in good shape.
Korean and Chinese teams will be stronger this year as they'll be used to the level of competition and have more import players, but they shouldn't threaten Oji, unless Oji struggles (well, maybe except Halla).
In the golden age of Oji, them and Kokudo were winning all the championships, but they've been passed by the Cranes the last few years.
So, it is Dusty's last season eh. He's been a long time contributor to Japanese hockey. Showing that goalies can fight too :-P He came up with big saves when it mattered, kinda like Japan's own Grant Fuhr.
08-27-2005, 06:45 PM
i would like to see asia come into the world hockey ring that will be very nice
08-29-2005, 03:05 PM
Tokyo BUck, thanks for the insightful analysis. Burt and Dusty seem to think Oji is pretty close to breaking through. Its good to hear the chinese teams will be better, they were not impressed by their play at all last year. Chippy was the best word Burt could use to describe them.
09-01-2005, 10:22 PM
It's just my amateur opinion. It's too bad that more people aren't interested in this newborn league full of interesting promise.
Anyways, the Beijing based Nordic team, Vikings, have revamped their website, and has announced their home schedule (oddly enough, ahead of the official AL hockey website, the league's marketing... needs a lot of work :P )
And they got Reebok Hockey as a sponsor! The league itself seriously needs some big time sponsors, and hopefully the Vikings owners can teach them a thing or two about club operations and marketing. The Vikings appear to be pretty serious about this.
09-02-2005, 09:18 AM
I will be following this league, and especially now with the addition of the Nordic Vikings a Swede like me can relate to at least a few of the players. :)
What is the hockey interest like overall in Japan for example? Didn't the NHL have a few season openers there some years ago? For example in 1997 when the Mighty Ducks and the Canucks played their first two regular season games at the Yoyogi Arena in Tokyo, and the following season the Flames and Sharks played there as well, and I believe those games were pretty popular there? And then with the Nagano Olympics and all, did that help triggering the interest for hockey in Japan?
09-03-2005, 03:04 AM
Happy to see so much interest in this league even before the season has started...I will be able to see more games this season in Anyang and would be happy to post from time to time about the team. I hope Tokyo Bucks and others can do the same. Are you in Nikko TB? I lived in Tochigi for a year back in 97. Beautiful place...
09-04-2005, 02:33 AM
Hockey didn't catch on in Japan as a semi-major sport even with the Olympics and NHL openers. It's fairly popular up north in Hokkaido and some pockets of hockey playing regions like Nikko. It's the same worldwide, but it's difficult to make hockey popular in non-snow and ice regions. I went to the Ducks-Canucks and Sharks-Flames season openers and there was a decent crowd (close to capacity of about 10000) despite ticket prices that are about double what it is in the NHL. There was a brief spike in popularity last year when a hugely popular celebrity played a hockey player in a drama. He skated like a beginner and the storyline made him a Vancouver Canuck in the end! Funny stuff.
Neat, you lived in Tochigi! I live in Tokyo, hence my screen name :) Nikko fans are fantastic, enthusiastic, and really know their hockey. Fans in Tokyo are very tame and unknowledgeable. I used to like Seibu, but that team got merged with Kokudo due to parent company's financial troubles. So I was teamless, and couldn't cheer on the new monster team (even though I like many of the players). Then watching scrappy Nikko reminded me of Calgary with them trying to make up for the lack of funding and skills with speed and toughness, and the fans are awesome. Being the only Japanese club team not attached to a company, Nikko always has financial troubles, so I even donated money to the team when they played in Tokyo last season :P And their financial troubles lead to a really strange arrangement this season where the team will have two homes Nikko-Kobe and will split home games in half. This Montreal/San Juan Expos type thing can't be good for the team's performance, but hopefully they can overcome that, no money means no team so what can you do. Hopefully Nikko and other teams and the league can learn something about marketing from the Vikings who seem to know what they're doing.
09-04-2005, 08:49 AM
Calling all hockey fans in East Asia!
Let me know when you'll be passing through Busan (Pusan). I'm 45 minutes south by ferry on a beautiful island, Geoje (Koje), teaching ESL, English to the local kiddies.
I've posted thousands of times here at HFBoards in the last year, trying to follow the game I love.
Let me know when you'll be nearby and I'll gladly offer you a meal and a mat for the night, or else meet you for dinner somewhere in the city if it's on a weekend.
And if you know of any any any way of watching NHL games live, perhaps on the 'net or through some sort of pay service, let me know!
09-08-2005, 09:02 PM
Full schedule is now posted on the league's website....Very disappointing!
TB: Do you know if this league has any kind of revenue/travel expense sharing?
With the advent of a second team in Korea (Kangwonland), a greater percentage of home games will NOT be played on weekends in Anyang. How does this team/ league expect to draw more fans. I saw about eight games last season and most fans attended on Sundays...by far.
When I see poor management practices like this, I am more and more convinced that this league does not have its sights on the future. It appears these three Asian nations are preoccupied with Olympic qualification than the longevity of the league itself.
I'm hoping there are adjustments/modifications to the schedule as the season gets underway...Blasted!
09-08-2005, 10:26 PM
Shcedule's finally posted here (couple days after the Japanese site, they seriously need translators/English media people):
I see 8 weekend homegames at Anyang, that's out of 19 home dates, so it's not quite half the home games. I see 10 weekend games at Chuncheon, that's not far from Seoul either, right?
It is a very odd schedule. The Vikings get a one month winter vacation from early December to early January! While the rest of the league chugs on. As a result of this, the Vikings end up with 6 games in 8 days in Korea at the end of the year. And the games in Nordic countries (three each against Harbin and Qiqihar in December and January) take away the Chinese "derby" matches. I'm not sure how much interest there would be for the Vikings in either Sweden or China, though they seem to be good at marketing and business, so there's hope.
Another oddity is the unbalanced aspect of the schedule, here's the break down.
All 9 teams play 4 games against each other (2 home 2 away) = 8 x 4 = 32 games
Then there are the regional "group games":
The 4 Japanese teams play against each other twice each additionally = 3 x 2 = 6 games
The 2 Korean teams play against each other 5 times additionally, with another game each against the Vikings = 5 + 1 = 6 games
The Qiqihar and Harbin play against each other 4 times additionally, with another 2 games each against the Vikings = 4 + 2 = 6 games
Vikings play against other Chinese teams 2 times each, and Korean teams 1 time each = 2 x 2 + 2 x 1 = 6 games
It's understandable that the league wants to increase interest and draw more fans by heightening domestic matchups (and cutting down travel expenses?) But without actually having real divisions, this unbalanced schedule makes it really unfair for some teams (I guess that's not the league's top priority). Vikings have the easiest schedule, as they'll play against last year's league doormat Chinese teams 4 extra times, with an extra game against the new Korean team. Bucks have it the toughest as they'll have 6 extra games against other Japanese teams, all of whom made the playoffs last year.
Then there's the playoffs themselves. There will be 6 entrants out of 9 teams! That's excessive, but I guess that's the only way they could guarantee a Chinese/Korean team making the playoffs (though the Bucks could very conceivably lose out on the last playoff spot).
Anyways, for me in the Tokyo are, there are exhibition games this weekend in Nikko (Sat) and Shin-Yokohama (Sun), and the season starts on 24-25 with 4 games in Higashifushimi. Should be fun :-)
Is there any word on any beginnings of some good home grown talent in Asia starting to catch on? I wonder what sort of players and talent we could expect to see in a projection of 20 years if hockey really catches in asia!
09-09-2005, 12:51 PM
Is there any word on any beginnings of some good home grown talent in Asia starting to catch on? I wonder what sort of players and talent we could expect to see in a projection of 20 years if hockey really catches in asia!
I've been in Korea for near 3 years teaching ESL to be near my Korean fiance who I met in Vancouver. I play for the Incheon team in the rec league here and play regularly against young Korean guys who play for the Winia and two who have been picked up by Kangwon Land. There is one 19 year old player who plays for the Winia whose name I believe is something like Pak Jae-In who is absoloutely mega-talented and I talked with him in my limited Korean and he said he is considering going to Canada next year to try out for a BCJHL team or perhaps the dub. He is insanely fast, soft hands and can stickhandle like mad. The two Kangwon-Land guys who play with me are top-notch players as well, though they are past junior eligibility age. I also play with a very good 17 yr. old defenceman named Im Ji-min who plays for the Korean national junior team and talked with him and his parents and he is also considering going to Canada next year. He is big and very mobile and is flat-out obsessed with hockey.
Myself and 2 of the other strongest players from my team who all played Junior back in Canada have been going out on Thursday nights to help a 13-15 year old team run their practices. Some of the kids have visible high-end skills. From this, and other experiences, I have seen that there is a burgeoning interest in ice hockey from youth in South Korea. Their coach has told me more and more youngsters are being provided with (incredibly expensive here as it is all imported from NA) hockey gear by their parents. Apparently, many see it as a possible means of getting their boys a scholarship to Yonsei University, which has an excellent club team and many of the nat. jr. guys are at or are scheduled to play there. Available ice time is a problem here as there are only 2 quality rinks here, Anyang where the Winia play and Mok-Dong. Our rink in Incheon is an atrocity.
The local hockey shop here is Jim Paek's, and some of you may remember him winning a cup with the Penguins in '91. I've met him and talked with him (good English naturally) about the growth of hockey in Korea and he told me that there is indeed a growing curiosity in the sport for young boys and he said he sees Korean players crossing the Pacific to take shots at Junior A and Major, Collegiate in the US and CIAU in Canada with increasing frequency within 3 to 4 years. I can attest to their being some good young hockey players here for sure.
09-11-2005, 02:10 PM
Nordic Vikings seem pretty solid in fact.
Riku W/Varjamo could be a bottom pairing defenseman in SM-liiga..
09-13-2005, 05:03 AM
Thanks for providing info on Korea and the Swedish players, it's nice to know that the AL's not in a vacuum.
I saw the Pride Cup exhibition match between Kokudo and Nikko on Sunday at Yokohama. It was a sloppy preseason game, but an exciting one where Kokudo went up 3-0, only to have the Bucks come back to tie it 3-3, but Kokudo turned it on and ended up winning the game 5-3 (last goal was an empty netter). The game had it's rough patches with various players going after eachother (used to be unheard of in Japan League), probably a carry over from the apparently rough 6-0 exhibition win by Kokudo in Nikko a day earlier. Japanese players are getting rougher in the wrong situations. Instead of pummelling eachother behind the play and after the whistle, they should be laying more solid checks in play. Not a good sign. Hopefully it's just preseason rustiness.
The new Nikko imports Podein and Paradise did not dress for the game for some reason. Bucks' new Korean playing-coach Shin dressed and played. This is a great thing, having player and coach exchanges between Asian nations, this was made possible by the classification of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese players as all being "non-imports" throughout Asia League. There's also a Japanese player in Halla, Korea. Tonozaki on Kokudo caught my interest though. He's still young (23), and not new on the team but didn't get much (any?) playing time last year because I don't remember seeing his unique name. And he appears to a product of North American hockey (he's a graduate of Leroid(?) High School, definitely no in Japan, and I'm not sure where he went after that), he plays with lots of heart, has great speed, and decent moves to get around defensemen. Despite the fact that Kokudo absorbed Seibu a few years back and became an all-veteran team, it's good to see a young guy come along.
In a strange turn of events, Kokudo will go up to Khavarovsk to play Russian Elite/1st Division (not sure which) team Amur in some exhibition games. The third Amur team, Golden Amur, just played in the Asia League for one season and pulled out of this season's play for "financial reasons", but who knows that the true reason is. Apparenly they still want ties with Asian hockey, hence this series of exhibition games against Kokudo. Would love to find out more about what Amur's future plans are...
09-16-2005, 05:13 PM
I just heard that Adam Campbell who played in the ECHL last season, and who signed with the Memphis Riverkings this summer has signed with a Korean team. Anyone know which one?
09-16-2005, 11:47 PM
Anyang has already met its quota for "foreign" players. This will be a Kawonland signing...
Alessandro Seren Rosso
09-17-2005, 08:51 AM
is there a link for the Qiqihar IceHockey? A player i know is playing there.
09-20-2005, 09:17 PM
Great to see some interest in this fledgling experimental league (hopefully with a future).
The 2005-06 season opens this weekend with derby matches in Anyang (Korea), Qiqihar and Harbin (China), and Higashifushimi (West Tokyo on the Seibu-Shinjuku line, Japan)
Hmm.. finding information on Chinese teams is always trouble. I can't find any either, but of course I completely lack Chinese ability. Perhaps you could contact the Qiqihar team through the Nordic Vikings in Beijing? (Or the AL office, of course.)
Last year's 3rd place finisher's parent team Amur played against Kokudo in preseason games this past week. There seems to be a change in ownership at Amur, but by keeping contact with AL, Amur may still be interested in fielding an AL team in the future once their new ownership situation settles down..? But then again, I wonder if they'll have the finances to field a third team anymore, and moving Amur-2 into the AL might be too drastic..? Lots of questions as usual with this league, and particularly the Russians :P
09-24-2005, 10:36 AM
Lucklustre games in Japan to open the season. Kokudo won 2-1 over Oji where neither team looked particularly sharp (Oji had a good second period but that was about it). And the Cranes shut out the Bucks 5-0. Looks like things haven't changed much from last year on this end either. Bucks' new imports Podein had occasional nice plays but on the whole was muted, and Paradise was kinda invisible. Cranes' Plante also had occasional flashes of good shots and playmaking. Once these guys get rolling in the season, maybe things'll get more exciting.
Elsewhere, the original AL Korean team Halla won 5-3 over the new entrants Kangwon Land, which was a better result than a blowout that was feared. And the new Nordic team Vikings won handily over Harbin 5-1. Hopefully this all means that the league will be more closely fought than last year when only the first and fourth place were up for grabs. (No massive two digit blowouts yet, phew.)
Attendance was 3000 for the two games in Tokyo, 2000(!) for the Korean derby, and 800 for the Vikings match in Harbin (uh oh..)
09-25-2005, 10:08 AM
Second day of games proved to be much more exciting in Japan. The scores don't reflect it, but it probably had to do with the matchups. Yesterday was last year's league #1 Cranes vs #6 Bucks and #2 Kokudo vs #4 Oji, and the top two teams are a rank or two above the other two at the moment. But today's games were more closely matched Cranes vs Kokudo (2-2 with many many chances unfinished on both sides) and Oji vs Bucks (4-1, but Oji did not score an even strength goal). But on top of that, the referee called less penalties that interrupted the flow of the play, and teams committed less offsides so there was more back and forth action in both games, instead of defensively shutting down Bucks and Oji, respectively (which is effective, but not as interesting hockey).
And in interesting turn of events already, Korea's second team Kangwon Land beat Halla 5-3, despite Halla having most of the national team members and probably better imports (Czech Extraleaguers vs CHL, etc.) And the game drew 1600, which is promising.
Vikings beat Qiqihar 5-3, which makes it look like they did better than Harbin who lost 5-1 to the Scandinavians. But Harbin was pretty much even on shots while Qiqihar was being outshot 2:1 giving up almost a shot a minute, allowing 57. So, that probably more closely reflects the strength of Chinese teams.
The schedule pits many international matchups in October, so some of the team strengths should become somewhat clear by then.
Interesting season up ahead, did anyone catch any of the games?
09-29-2005, 09:57 AM
Some troubling results early in the new AL season.
The new, mostly Swedish Division 1 level team, the Nordic Vikings of Beijing, has lost two games in a row (8-1 and 2-1) to last year's finalist Cranes. What's troubling is the shot count, 53-28 and 32-14! They seemed to be utterly dominated by the Cranes (I need to hear a report from someone who attended the games though.
Maybe it's the difference between Canadian shoot from anywhere vs European setting up the perfect shot styles of play.) But does this mean that the Cranes are significantly weaker than Amur last year, and that the Cranes are Swedish Division 1 level? (Of course, we need a larger sample size to make this determination. And maybe it's that the Vikings have only played the doormat Chinese teams until they met the Cranes, so they need to get adjusted to top level AL play.) OK, there are probably still too many variables. But it's still interesting to see what will happen in the next few weeks.
10-02-2005, 03:45 AM
Keep it coming T-Bucks...Love to here whats going on in the games on the island.
Anyang's first two games have shown me two things: one, Halla is much the same team they were last year. They have still not addressed the team's two biggest weaknesses from last season. They still do not have a sizable center to stand in front of the net on the PP. Working the corners in one thing (and Anyang is good at that), but all passes from the periphery gets a bit redundant and the opposing keeper is seeing way too many shots. Anyang also does not have a defenseman strong enough to push a Pirpic away from the crease. I literally laughed out loud when the team's newsletter described Nedved as a towering defenseman suited to police the crease. He's even skinnier than Ponto was and plays with even less aggression. Second, Anyang needs an agitator. These guys are way too nice. Kawonland is not nearly as talented as Halla is, but they made them look like *******. I just about cried in embarrassment when Zdenek Nedved went over to the Kawonland bench to apoligize for a highstick that drew a bit of blood from a Kawon player...Tobin gave him what he deserved a "get lost" rub in the face with his glove...utter foolishness. If this team wants to compete, it's going to have to play with more grease.
The following are the lines I had coach Vejvoda running over the weekend:
Kim, Kyung-Tae Nedved, Zdenek Song, Dong-Hwan
Jeon, Jin-Ho Martinec, Patrik Kim, Han-Sung
Bae, Young-Ho Tetsuo, Setaka Kim, Hong-Il
Kim, Do-Yun Shim, Eui-Sik Lee, Ho-Jung
Lee, Yoon-Ki Nedved, Jaroslav
Lee, Kwon-Jun Jang, Jong-Moon
Seman, Daniel Yoon, Kyung-Won
Nedved, Zdenek: can't understand why this guy was a second round draft pick by the Leafs out of the OHL. Haven't seen anything yet.
Kim, Han-Sung: watch out for this guy...he's my early pick to lead the team in points. Sees the ice well. Beautiful stick-handler. Works well in the corners. Goes to the net. Uses his size. Watch number 89 when he comes to town.
Martinec, Patrik: should put up a lot of points. Plays much the same game Poulsen did last year for Anyang. Will not skate into traffic, but plays good positional hockey. A solid second-line center in the mold of a poor, poor man's Brendan Morrison.
Kim, Kyung-Tae: Should have a better year than last. Couldn't stand this guy last year. Skates like the wind. Handles the puck well, but unlike last year is passing with his head up. This guy tried to go end-to-end every time he had the puck last season. I'm surprised he wasn't injured actually. Took more hits than any other forward on the team.
Shim, Eui-Sik: So glad the team has decided to keep "grandfather" on board. Has more heart and knowledge of the game than any other player on the team. Has already potted two goals and they were both beauties. Heart on his sleeve type with good conditioning for an older player.
Nedved, Jaroslav: The older brother of Peter (NHL) is even worse a skater. Good, sound positional player. Will likely lead the defense in points (even ahead of a more offensive type such as Seman). Looks very awkward out there, but as long as he keeps the play in front of him he's alright...If you get by him though...there is not a player in the league he'll catch. Think Cory Cross.
Jang, Jong-Moon: My boy...By far my favorite player. Doesn't stand out but plays the man like no other d-man on the team. Other teams will be hard pressed to score on Anyang five-on-five against Anyang when he's out there. I expect him to log a lot of minutes and finish the season with one of the team's best +/- ratings.
Kim, Sung-Bae: A bit worried about him this year. Is flopping around even more than last season. Can play the angles well, but tends to go down too often -- especially from shots in close. Watch out for Kawon's keeper. This guy looks like he may have a future. Could see him being the starter for Korea in the international stage.
I really hope coach Vejvoda has Halla on the bikes. These guys looked really bad on home ice in the second game against Kawonland. Poor conditioning. They were absolutely dominated physically. It's going to be a long season with something like eight match ups against "The Land". If Kawon continues to intimidate them, I fear Anyang will lose too many games vs. a first season second Korean team
Hop others will post on other teams around the league...I enjoy reading your stuff T-Bucks. If you get to Anyang for a weekend game this season let me know. We'll have to meet up. You too, "Seoul_"! You plan on getting out to many games?
10-02-2005, 07:38 AM
Thanks for the great intro for Halla, hunter. Were there some Kangwon Land fans in the crowd at Anyang too? That would be great. I look forward to seeing Halla in town next weekend. Hopefully I'll be making a trip to cold Seoul or Chuncheon in the next few months, will definitely let you know then.
I didn't see any games in person this weekend (only one close to Tokyo was Nikko today), and was involved in a gruelling 7 hour fantasy hockey draft via msn (...orz ) so I'll just mention a couple of notes from the games this weekend.
Podein went back to the States for a few days and missed the Kokudo game in Nikko today, which the Bucks won 3-2! According to some Bucks fans, the team withstood an onslaught of Kokudo attack in the 3rd to defend the narrowest of margins. That's the way this team has to play in order win against other Japanese teams, and Halla and the Vikings (probably).
Harbin handled Qiqihar handily (maybe it just seems that way from the scoresheet, but it would be consisitent with last year) in 2 wins in the Chinese derby.
Vikings won one and lost one in the two games in Tomakomai against Oji. They've gotten quite outshot in all 4 games in Hokkaido. But since they took one against Oji, and came close against the Cranes, it's probably partially style of play and also getting used to the speed and skill of top AL teams.
Oh, the Vikings have a poster up for the games in Beijing. People in the capital, this is your chance to see some decent live hockey in the People's Republic! (Chinese officials seems to have muddled with the team name, now it sometimes reads like a comrade's team, Vikings/Nordic China Combination Team, geez... though it was weird that the team name didn't mention the fact that it was based in Beijing.)
10-05-2005, 10:06 AM
Some teams are still rusty, or need to get up to speed to compete at top AL level, but some interesting results this week.
Bucks took both games from Anyang at Nikko (Anyang finished above the Bucks last season).
Harbin and Kangwon split their games, more competition at this level of the league too, good news.
Some interesting games coming up this weekend.
Cranes should overpower Harbin in Kushiro. Though, I can see Harbin coming along later on in the season and occasionally upsetting the stronger clubs.
Kokudo looks too solid for the new Halla, Czech version. But it should be interesting anyways, I'll be at the first game on Saturday.
The Land against Vikings at Beijing. I wonder how many people will show?
Some teams have to savour the standings at the moment :-P
team points games
Cranes 10 4
Bucks 9 5
Harbin 9 5
Vikings 9 6
Kangwon 6 4
Oji 6 4
Kokudo 4 3
Anyang 3 4
Qiqihar 0 3
Qiqihar's next game is on the 15th, weird schedule...
10-05-2005, 08:36 PM
It IS early, but i'm concerned with Anyang's defense and even more so with Kim Sung Bae (their keeper). I actually predicted they'd drop both games to Nikko. Anyang is looking bad thus far and Nikko always plays them tough.
Expect more of an effort against Kokudo. Anyang doesn't like this club and seem to lose to them every time. It's been chippy between these two clubs after Fujita nailed a Halla player open ice after the whistle (last season). The guy (can't recall who it was) left the game on a stretcher. The team was irrate and fans even wanted a piece of "chicken fahita" as my friend then dubbed him.
I would think Pirpic will spend the game in Anyang's crease and Anyang will do little to move him. If Anyang can stay out of the box they may have a shot at stealing one game away from Kokudo. If not, it could be a slaughter...
10-10-2005, 06:04 PM
Is there any site where you can read stats (both individual and team stats) for this league? I can't seem to find any stats on the league's official site.
10-10-2005, 09:04 PM
10-11-2005, 11:51 AM
Ugh, maybe non-Japanese teams just need to warm up and adjust to the level of play of Japanese teams, but things are looking worse than last year for league parity. Halla appears to be weaker than last year, losing both games to Nikko (who finished below Halla last year), and not having any standout players in the first game against Kokudo that I went to see (they seemed to have done better in the second game). Then Harbin went on to lose all four games in Hokkaido by giving up 10 or more goals! (this didn't happen last year.) So, if both Harbin and Halla are worse than last year, and if the Land is at best equal to Halla, and Qiqihar lost to this Harbin team... all we might have left is the Vikings improving as the season goes along (as it is a new team in a new league). Hopefully the non-Japanese teams will improve as the season progresses, for the sake of league parity..
10-12-2005, 08:57 AM
Halla 2 - 1 Cranes! Halla beat the top team in the league, giving them the first loss of the young season. The Cranes looked to be in command of the game from the shots on goal, but hey if you can't score, you lose.
This is after Halla lost both games to the lowly Bucks, and the Bucks didn't stand a chance against the Cranes. But the Land beat Halla, and they have a loss against Harbin, and Harbin got blown out by the Cranes in both games.
The league doesn't make sense, in a good way. It'd be boring if most matches were predictable.
10-12-2005, 08:56 PM
Saw that score as well! Wow!!! Who would have thunk it...Can't make it to either of the Cranes/Halla games this week, but will get to both the Halla/Oji games next weekend...Will report then.
10-14-2005, 02:19 PM
Halla grabbed another point from the Cranes in an OT loss too. Good stuff. They were leading the game though, too bad they couldn't hold onto it for the shocker sweep.
Vikings finally have Chinese language version of their website (click on the Chinese flag on the top right corner). Hopefully they'll get marketing in gear and get a better turnout than the 300-something people they had for the opening games in Beijing last weekend.
This weekend's games could be pretty interesting:
Bucks @ Qiqihar
the Land @ Cranes
Halla @ Vikings
Looking forward to your Halla reports hunter, any plans to go to Chuncheon?
10-17-2005, 11:55 AM
Bucks took two close games from Qiqihar.
the Land lost both games to the Cranes by 2-3, losing the second game on a last second goal! Otherwise they could've grabbed a point or two from the top team.
Halla lost two close games to the Vikings, one in OT, thus earning a point.
So, upsets shouldn't be too unusual in this league because there are many close games.
But, as it stands right now, the 4 Japanese teams + Vikings top the table, and Korean and Chinese teams are at the bottom. Not very encouraging to the CK teams and fans.
One funny thing though. The Vikings only drew about 300 people each in their cavenous 10000 capacity home rink on the opening weekend. But this past weekend the games apparently drew 3000 people each. That seems really unlikely unless they successfully stepped up massive marketing campaigns. Or the team or Chinese officials decided to paper the walls with free tickets. The latter seems more likely. I wonder how many people actually showed up to watch the game (hopefully at least half as many did, and some became hockey fans), and how many actually paid for the tickets :P
i will be in Kobe and Osaka over the next two weeks and was curious what, if any, team is located nearby? or are these all Tokyo-area teams?
10-18-2005, 07:42 PM
You may be in luck!
There are only 5 games in the Kansai area all year, but two of them take place in the first week of November.
2 Nov 19:00 Kangwon Land vs Ice Bucks
3 Nov 13:00 Kangwon Land vs Ice Bucks
The Bucks who only finished above the overmatched Chinese squads last year and had no hope for a playoff spot, is actually in 3rd place at the moment! (They've played more games than Oji and Kokudo, but still, this is fun.)
Both games take place in Kobe's Port Island Sports Center.
The Sports Center is a 10 minute ride on the Port Liner train line from Sannomiya Station.
Tickets should be about 1000-2500 yen, and you should be able to just walk up on game day. Hopefully there'll be a decent crowd, but with only 5 games in the area all season, I'm not sure. But Bucks fans are fantastic, so many of them should be making the trip down from Nikko, they're definitely worth a look. And the teams should be closely matched and the games unpredictable.
The n00b King ©*
10-19-2005, 11:40 AM
im just curious...but how does one get drafted by these teams? i mean let's say, for example, a guy plays in a NA senior league, how would he go about to joining up with one of those teams?
12# Peter Bondra
10-19-2005, 12:31 PM
Id expect by signing them. No Leagues outside of the CHL and NHL have drafts. Its free agency everywhere else.
10-20-2005, 09:09 AM
Yup, players are all signed as free agents (or hired by the parent companies), there's no draft.
We're about 1/4 of the way through the season now..
Korean teams have put up a really good fight against Japanese teams, but have come up short most of the time (except for the Halla upset of Cranes, and the occasional ties/OTL). They can't keep on losing close games while outshooting the opponent, so they should come up in the standings as the season progresses. Kangwon Land is not embarrassing themselves, which some of us feared. In fact, they're playing competitive hockey. Anywang's lack of success (apart from the Cranes win) is disapointing, but then again the team switched to a completely Czech system this year, and that probably takes some time to adapt.
The Bucks have played well, after the lame opening weekend games. They haven't dropped many games that they should have won, unlike last year, which is the key to their current success (they're 2nd!) I hope the Bucks can keep this up, being the Japanese underdog team, but I fear they're going to come back down to earth with tougher domestic matches coming up, and luck evening out. This fast start should help them with a playoff spot, where 6 of 9 teams qualify.
Oji aren't as solid as Kokudo or the Cranes, losing to the Vikings who got destroyed by the Cranes. But then again the Cranes lost against Halla after a seemingly invincible start to the season.
The Vikings are still an unknown entity, but they should continue to improve as the new team gels.
Harbin appears to be a bit unpredictable, getting blown out in Hokkaido, but playing good games elsewhere, beating Kangwon. Qiqihar... hopefully they'll improve as the season goes along, otherwise they're in for repeat of last year when they finished with only one win, and even that might've been suspicious as it came against Harbin :-P
But as it is, the league's divided into haves and havenots. The haves are the 4 Japanese teams and Vikings, and the havenots being the Korean and Chinese teams. With the Bucks expected to slow
The weirdness of early AL season play:
Harbin beat Kangwon
Kangwon beat Halla
Halla beat Cranes
Cranes utterly destroyed Harbin
How's this even possible?
Ah well, it's good to be unpredictable.
By the way Vikings board member, Ulf Nilsson, who played with Bobby Hull in the WHA Winnipeg Jets, and the New York Rangers, will be visiting Beijing and Qiqihar to watch the team play.
Alessandro Seren Rosso
10-20-2005, 03:55 PM
I've pmed you friend ;) Can you reply?
10-21-2005, 10:59 PM
Just looking at some stats over at alhockey.com. Chris Yule! Impressive stats...Has that guy really not been on the ice for a goal against? He's leading the team in points and shots on goal, so I'm assuming he's getting first line minutes. Seven games, top line minutes, twelve points, 15/0 on the +/- stat...This guy's got to be an early candidate for league MVP. Any way this stat is being colored a bit, TB? Is Yule playing any difficult minutes at all? Whose on his line? Has he taken on a more prominent role with the offense in Tokyo this year or is there just so much depth there that's it's hard for an opposing coach to match up lines?
Kokudo loooks to have the best depth (perhaps once again) than any team in the league this season. When I look at all these teams on paper, I'm hard-pressed to understand why Kokudo does not run away with things a bit. Makes me kind of wonder about team cohesiveness. Any problems with egos in Tokyo, TB?
Off to the game today...I'm predicting an Anyang victory. Let's say 3-2.
11-07-2005, 08:00 PM
AL stats don't mean much because some games really throw them out of whack (like the recent 24-0 drubbing of Qiqihar by the Cranes, ouch). Derek Plante leads the league with 10-20-30 in 14 games, but again this doesn't mean much with many of the points coming when they run up the score. The Cranes are definitely one of the top teams, but not every team runs up the score. And the gap in the level of play between the top and the bottom of this league is kinda disheartening. Hopefully there'll be a way to bring up the level of Chinese hockey (Korean teams are competitive, more on it below), the quickest way is probably inviting players of Chinese descent and giving them citizenship as there are only about 500(!) registered hockey players in all of China, but PRC citizenships probably complicate things. Otherwise, merging the two Chinese teams into one would help temporarily.
Qiqihar is still pointless, but in the last couple of weeks (while I was on vacation) we've seen Halla beat Oji, Harbin beat Kokudo in OT, and Kangwon has lost too many games by 1 goal (some in OT) that they've got to get some wins soon. So, it seems like the Chinese and Korean teams other than Qiqihar are pulling some upsets and putting up a good fight. And the 13 point gap between the Bucks and Halla means little because Halla's yet to play against the Chinese teams while Bucks already won against them four times (though it's good that the Bucks played consistently and didn't get upset like the big boys did against the minnows sometimes), though Bucks took both head to head matches against Halla. With Kangwon starting to win more (hopefully) and Harbin beating upon Qiqihar, while Bucks probably struggling against other Japanese teams, it could be a pretty interesting race for the last 2 playoff spots (and also for the 2 first round byes). But damn Qiqihar.. will ya get your act together :P
11-15-2005, 11:43 PM
Apparently attendance at the most recent game in Beijing (Kokudo at Vikings) was a whopping AL record 6000! (I wish I could get a confirmation from someone attending the games there..)
I was going to post that "but the fans in Beijing won't get to see their new Heroes until January as the team's next series of home games will be in Scandinavia (location still to be decided?)" But the attendance numbers are so good that the Vikings suddently rescheduled their early December 3 game Scandinavian series against Qiqihar to Beijing. That's probably a good thing (not sure who in Scandinavia would be interested in the AL anyways), but the first rescheduled game is to be held in the practice arena that only seats 500 people (hopefully the next two are in the big arena), guess they still save travel costs though. Wonder how many fans will turn up to these suddenly rescheduled games (announced less than a week before the games take place!)
Watch out for Halla making a run up the standings, they're in the midst of 8 consecutive games against Chinese teams.
11-16-2005, 03:26 AM
A little snippet on a letter from Shjon Podein in an ESPN column. Haha, he talked down the 10 game suspension (more than 1/4 of the season!) to 3 games. Sounds like a great guy. I noticed Kokudo's Prpic (veteran of many seasons in Japan and Asia) having a chat with Podein during the last Bucks-Kokudo game I saw. It seemed like Prpic was giving the big guy advice on what gets called easily and amount of physical play tolerated in the league (it was after a scuffle and/or some physical play by Podein). Anyways, the four Japanese teams play 4 games in Yokohama this weekend (Shin-Yokohama Prince Arena, several minutes walk from the Shin-Yokohama station), domestic matches aren't as interesting in terms of unexpected events, but they will be closely matched.
Third Period -- Life of Podes
Our boy Shjon Podein (100 NHL goals in 699 games) has continued his hockey life's adventure in Japan after spending last winter in Sweden. Here is Shjon's latest e-mail to me:
"Where do I begin? What a culture. I am big into the whole bowing thing. The people are great. Tokyo is huge. Mount Fuji is one cool mountain. I climbed the Great Wall and lived to tell about it. I don't know if the satellites could see me waving. Hockey is a blast.
"I got a 10-game suspension for running into a ref. I talked it down to three. I'm really into the conveyer belt sushi. I like just to watch the sushi go round and round and grab the one you want. It's exhilarating. I ate some blow fish and avoided the poison. Homer would be proud. I saw some NHL highlights on ESPN.com. I don't even dream as fast as the boys are skating! Everyone in southeast Minnesota loves it. I saw my first sumo live. I'm hooked for life! Those big, round guys got some quick feet. Yakitori and noodles instead of hot dogs and popcorn. I hope life is great and keep loving the world's greatest game.
S.W. Podein, Esq.
11-20-2005, 08:13 AM
Yes, the Bucks take both games against the Hokkaido teams despite being outshot and giving up many chances (the game I saw against the Cranes had them missing the net by a few inches several times). But hey, you gotta be good to be lucky, and lucky to be good. This might be turning into the best year for the Bucks, ever (of course, the playoffs are everything, but..)
11-26-2005, 10:31 AM
Bucks are doing a great job being a defensive counterstriking team!
Halla should still be on course for 12 more points from their next 4 matches with the Chinese squads.
Looks like Halla got out of Harbin ok, and there aren't any home games at Harbin for a while. Hopefully Harbin can recover quickly from this.
11-29-2005, 10:00 AM
Finally got to see the Vikings in person, they played Kokudo in Higashifushimi, Tokyo today.
The visitors from Beijing kinda looked sluggish at the start of the match, perhaps from the long road trip. Vikes showed good fundamentals, especially skating, passing, and puck control, but failed to create enough chances and lost the game 5-1. Yule with 2G1A and Fujita with 4A shined in the game, especially Yule's first goal was a nice one where he went around the net and outlasted the goalie and buried the puck in the top shelf. Tommorow's rematch should be interesting, surprisingly there was some bad blood between the teams despite this being only the 3rd game between the teams.
And congrats to Kangwon for beating Oji in OT! Any team other than Qiqihar can beat any other team on any given night, that's great for the league.
I hadn't realized that the AL had given up on using neutral country's officials for international matches. I guess that was just too costly to the league, though now some close calls are going to be questioned more often. Even if the officials don't intend on rewarding the home team, he will be used to the home team's style and will probably be used to it and favour it over the visitor's.
11-29-2005, 05:29 PM
sorry, but I am a newbie with asian hockey and this asian superleague. Could anybody tell me what is is, or provide a web address? That would be very much appreciated, thanks.
11-29-2005, 07:17 PM
Link was on page 1, but here it is again. Cheers.
11-30-2005, 07:12 PM
Vikings looked downright apathetic yesterday, not a good sign for the team or the league. I can see how a quickly assembled team on a constant road trip would be fatigued, and playing too many games against mismatched Chinese opponents (and being a hockey castaway in Asia) would lead to lower motivation, especially for younger players, but it's unfortunate. They didn't create enough scoring chances and didn't close the door on Kokudo players walking right in to the slot.
Something very strange happened though. Top scorer for the Vikes, Freddie Nasvall, ended up tending goal in the third period last night due to an injury to the hyper emotional regular goalie Peter Andersson. He fell backwards seemed to have hit his head around 17:10 of the 2nd, got back up after the Kokudo trainer had a look at him, let in another goal immediately afterwards from a defensive breakdown, not his fault. Then he disappeared to the locker room, but came back to finish up the 2nd. Then when the teams returned in the 3rd, announcement was made that Nasvall was in net! Kokudo didn't really try too hard as they already had the game in hand, and every time Nasvall made saves or plays big cheers went up from the crowd. Hopefully Andersson is ok, the Vikes have a month off now until they play again in January, intentional schedule quirk. The question is, why don't the Vikings carry a team trainer, and the bigger question is, how come the Vikings only have one goalie!? Weirdness of newborn leagues..
and the bigger question is, how come the Vikings only have one goalie!? Weirdness of newborn leagues..
They have an another goalie (Tommi Kela from Finland), but he had stomach problems and couldn't play. Source: nordicvikings.com (http://www.nordicvikings.com/)
12-01-2005, 07:52 PM
Yeah, the group stomach problems also explain the short bench, and maybe the seemingly unmotivated players.
12-04-2005, 06:39 PM
Link was on page 1, but here it is again. Cheers.
12-18-2005, 08:14 AM
League's chugging along with expected results, but one note of interest. Anyang has beaten the Bucks in both games at home this weekend, 3-1 and 5-2. Bucks took both games in Japan in this match up earlier in the season, so it would be interesting to see them in a playoff series. But that's not likely to happen unless the Vikes lose all interest in the league finishing 6th, which would allow 4th and 5th to go to Halla and the Bucks, heh.
Cranes also handily won 6-3 and 5-0 over Kokudo this weekend. The fact that the Cranes won isn't too unexpected, they always looked more solid than Kokudo in games I've seen this year. But I thought the scores would be closer.
12-25-2005, 11:24 AM
Unlike the NHL, the AL had a full slate of games on Christmas Eve and Day.
In the Hokkaido vs Honshu matchups in Sapporo, Kokudo came out on top with a win and a tie, Bucks and Cranes won one and lost one, and Oji made out worst with a tie and a loss. The games were very well attended with the crowds exceeding 3000 people by the end of each day. Sapporo can really use a team, being the largest Hokkaido city and all.
The Korea derby games were both taken by Halla, though Kangwon did put up a good fight in the second game, almost coming back to tie the game. Games were poorly attended, but Anyang has little seating anyways, so maybe it didn't seem so empty.
Qiqihar got another point! In their one tie against Harbin in the China derby games. The fact that this is a reason to celebrate, and that Qiqihar showing no improvement (in results at least) from last year, is a worrisome spot for the AL's future. The first game had great attendance of almost 3000, but it fell off to less than 600 for the second game, weird.
Top 6 teams (4 Japanese teams, Vikings, and Anyang) have almost all guaranteed their playoff positions with more than 1/4 of the season to go. Hopefully there's more parity next season with better players on the Chinese teams, especially. Now it's jostlin' time for playoff positioning.
12-31-2005, 08:45 AM
Here are the 6 highlight movies of this season's games so far. Because the Japanese office seems to have made a special effort to mark the occasions where four Japanese teams gather together, and that happened three times this season. So, all available highlight videos only feature Japanese teams, kinda makes the AL look like the old JIHL, that's a shame. Since the Japanese office seems to be willingly making highlight movies, hopefully we can expect some from the upcoming playoffs in February and March. (Click on the "Movie" buttons to view them.)
01-17-2006, 10:33 PM
Cranes have locked up the regular season championship. Kokudo will take 2nd place, unless the Bucks beat Kokudo and Oji wins its remaining games. 2nd place is further out of reach for Halla and the Vikings. And the Bucks round off the playoff contenders. Too bad there wasn't any competitions for playoff spots, but hopefully next year the level of play of 7-9th place teams will improve and provide some real competition that's more than just occasional surprise upsets of the top 6 teams. The playoff picture may be muddled until the very last game of the season on 1 February. But once Japanese teams finish all their games on Sunday, it should clear up somewhat. Anyways, it looks like the next AL game I can attend in Tokyo will be the 2nd round of playoffs in March (as Kokudo looks good for the 1st round bye).
01-19-2006, 11:17 AM
Hello. It's my first post here.
I'm a Cranes fan because of ex-Sabre, Derek Plante. I saw 9 Cranes games in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kushiro, Tomakomai, this season.
They seemed to beat Kokudo and Oji easily, but i'm afraid they may struggle against Halla this weekend. I think Halla is strong. They may finish 2nd. Son is the leader of goal ranking now, and I hear 3 Czech players are good, too.
01-28-2006, 09:47 PM
Went to the Halla/Vikings games yesterday...How silly it was. NO Chinese players made the trip from China -- I'm guessing because of the Lunar Calendar New Yerar. The Nords were playing with half a bench. Running two and a half lines at best. They were completely gassed by the third period. Anyang fans didn't seem to notice this at all and now believe the Vikings are not at all what they were cracked up to be...You could see the frustration in the Nordic players. They were continuously slamming their sticks against the boards and the ice. Had to feel for the guys...Talk about being hung out to dry by your own team...I have full respect for any culture and its holidays but, come on, these guys are supposed to be pros...!
I will probably not attend today's game as I'm expecting another "no contest". What a shame. This had the billing to be a weekend match up.
01-29-2006, 07:12 AM
dear hunter orange,
I don't think it is because of Chinese holidays. The number of Vikings' players have been 16, or 17 for a month or so. I hear there was something wrong about them last December. Some of Japanese fans are afraid that they will disappear from Asia League at the end of the season.
Anyway, Song wins the title of the leader of goal ranking. Congratulations.
01-29-2006, 12:09 PM
Great reports! :hockey:
01-29-2006, 08:02 PM
The Vikings-China player exchange seems to have failed and all loaned players returned to their original teams earlier in the season.
The Vikes were working with a short bench already (3 lines or so, I believe, in the new year) and they were hit with a stomach flu before the Saturday game (at least that's what I think I read on the team homepage).
Vikings have secured 5th place with their recent record, so the only unknown is whether Halla will beat the Vikings to finish 2nd and earn the 1st round bye in the playoffs. This sounds amazing, but remember that Halla had 5 extra games against newcomers Kangwon (who weren't shabby but lost 8 of 9 against Halla). Still, it's exciting that the final playoff matchups won't be known until the very end of the regular season schedule.
01-30-2006, 07:36 AM
Tokyo Bucks, if Halla finish 2nd, you can see 3 games in Tokyo in Feb.
And those will be Bucks games!
Halla is not a fluke. In January, they beat Kokudo once, Oji once, and made Cranes struggle in one game(Halla got 1 point in OTL). They became stronger through this season.
01-30-2006, 07:42 PM
Is China really big in Harbin and Qiqihar? The two youth teams that played during the intermissions at that one Islanders game came from there, and all of the Chinese players I have seen on the rosters came from one of these two cities
01-30-2006, 10:00 PM
I don't know much about China. Are Harbin and Qiqihar the only big cities in Northern China? They seem to win all the national championships as well.
If Halla finishes second (by beating the Vikings on their last game), then yes there will be Kokudo (3rd) home games in Tokyo on Feb 16, 18, and 19 against my Bucks (6th)! Then there will be semi-final games in either Tokyo or Nikko in March.
Yes, it's amazing how Halla's improved throughout their AL participation. The very first AL game they played was a 10-1 (or something similar) blowout loss to Kokudo that turned real ugly with dirty hits and so on. Hopefully Kangwon will make similar progress, they were already competitive this year, losing many games by one goal, so they look promising. I'm really disappointed that Chinese teams showed no progress in their second year in the league.
An interesting Finnish Asia League article (translated, thanks) was posted on another board.
02-01-2006, 07:39 AM
Not sure what did the Vikings in (lack of players, commitment, bad referee, tough schedule, Korean teams gaining strength), but they lost 5 of their last 6 games to the Korean teams. Halla's definitely on the up and looking good for the semifinals after earning the first round bye. Hopefully the Vikings will perform better in the playoffs, brining some playoff hockey games to Beijing.
Cranes (95pts) and Halla (78) earn first round byes.
Kokudo (77) - Bucks (55) (Regular season Kokudo 4 - 2 Bucks)
Oji (72) - Vikings (65) (Regular season tied at 2 - 2)
Games at Higashifushimi (Tokyo) and Tomakomai (Hokkaido) on Feb 16, 18, and 19. Then the last two games (if necessary) at Nikko and Beijing on Feb 21 and 22, for each respective series.
Kokudo has the advantage over the Bucks on sheer talent, but hopefully the hardworking Bucks will have some upsets in the bag.
And the more stable Oji has the advantage over the Vikings who lost steam in the second half of the year through various reasons. Hopefully the Vikings will put up a good fight and make this a good series.
02-01-2006, 11:22 PM
Harbin is a large city. Many Japanese know the name. Qiqihar isn't so. It isn't known in Japan at all. I didn't know it before the team took a part in AL.
As for baseball, football, hockey, China is a developing country. It will take a very long time to equal to Japan or Korea. But some Japanese baseball fans say that in the future Chinese baseball teams might be stronger than Japanese teams.
Kokudo became weaker after losing Prpik and Uchiyama for injury. I don't know if they can come back to 1st round. On Feb. 1, Kokudo company was merged into Prince Hotel. Kokudo team will be renamed. Prince Hotel is a part of Seibu group, so it might be Seibu?
Bucks fans are enthusiastic, so Higashifushimi Ice Arena will be filled with them. Podein was injured in December, but he returned late January. I hope Bucks win at least one game in Tokyo to come home to Nikko.
Derek Plante won both titles of points leader and assists leader.
Congrats, Derek! You are my boy!!!!!
02-02-2006, 09:11 AM
I heard the rumour about Kokudo being renamed Seibu too. That would be ironic as Kokudo absorbed the Seibu Railway team in the merger a couple of years ago (they were both owned by the now disgraced Tsutsumi owner anyways).
I forgot about Prpic and Uchiyama injuries, I was actually at the game where they got injured (if my memory's correct). They weren't back for the last games of the season, but maybe they were just playing safe. If they don't make it back for the 1st round, Bucks have a better chance as Podein is already back, as you stated.
I don't put much stock in the scoring leader board because some teams like the Cranes were running up the score on weaker opposition, while some other teams weren't. But congrats to Derek anyways, hope to see him live in the playoffs.
02-06-2006, 01:10 AM
Here's the playoff schedule and other information.
02-16-2006, 12:17 PM
Playoffs have started!
Vikings squandered a 2-1 lead against Oji up in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, and ended up losing the game 4-2. Tough start in a series where the higher ranked team gets the first 3 games at home in the best of 5 series.
I went to see the IceBucks at Kokudo game in Tokyo. Kokudo had all their players back because it's been a few weeks since their season finale. Big man Prpic, fast man Uchiyama, and gritty scorer Fujita (last minute scratch from Nagano Cup) were all back. So the Bucks were definitely facing a full squad Kokudo, instead of the depleted team late in the season.
But the Bucks were good today, fast to the puck, solid passing and teamwork, best I've seen them all season. And their fans were out in full force (for a weekday) and that made things that much better. Bucks fans are kinda like European football fans, very organic in their chants and songs. Whereas the Kokudo fans are very rigid in their cheers.
Anyways, the game started out in a shock with Kokudo scoring the first goal 1 minute into the game. That made me worried, but the Bucks buckled down. Well, more specifically the goalie Haruna was saving the day with many great saves, one even off his cage. Eventually the Bucks tie up the game with 96 Masakazu's wicked deke left to right on Kokudo goalie Kikuchi while the Buck was falling down!
But then not much later Haruna lets in a weak goal through the five hole, unusual for him. The game remains 2-1 for a full period, but after numerous squandered PP chances (and somehow staying alive through Kokudo's PPs), the Bucks score on a beautiful tic tac toe play on a PP. The game was tied at 2, and we head to OT. Thought things were looking good heading into OT, Bucks have the first scoring chance on the clean sheet of ice, but the D-men get caught attacking on the play and Kokudo's Yule slips past the defense to receive a breakaway pass which he calmly puts away on the top left hand corner of the net. Kokudo wins 1 minute into OT to take the 1-0 lead in the series.
03-01-2006, 11:52 AM
Kokudo sweeps the Bucks, and the Vikings win one in Tomakomai to take the series back to Beijing, but loses the series there.
Next up is the semifinals in mid-March and seeded teams the Cranes (1) and Korea's Halla (2) enter the playoffs. Kokudo will go to Seoul for the first 3 games of the best of 5 series, and Oji and the Cranes will battle it out in the all-Hokkaido semifinal.
In the meantime, the Senshuken national championship tournament is going on right now in Hokkaido, it's an FA Cup style single elimination tournament where higher seeded teams keep on entering the 7 round tournament. The 4 Japanese AL teams enter the tournament at the round of 8.
Tournament chart (Japanese)
Feb 28 - Round 1
Yoshida Sangyo (Tohoku region - northeastern Japan) 9 (3-2, 2-1, 4-1) 4 Itochu Shoji (Tokyo)
Bushukan Highschool 1 (0-1, 0-1, 1-1) 3 Yokohama Golden Gryphons (Kanto region - eastern Japan)
Hokkaido Universiad Selects 4 (2-1, 0-1, 2-2, 0-1) 5 Shiga Selects (Kinki region - western Japan)
Mitsui Bussan (Tokyo) 5 (1-5, 2-3, 2-1) 9 Toyama Selects (Hokushinetsu-Tokai region)
Hokkai Highschool 6 (4-1, 0-1, 2-0) 2 Hachinohe City Hall (Tohoku region - northeastern Japan)
Skatehouse Sapporo (host - Hokkaido) 1 (0-6, 1-5, 0-8) 19 Hosei University
March 1 - Round 2
Tadano Club (Hokkaido) 4 (3-1,1-1, 0-2, 0-1) 5 Yoshida Sangyo (Tohoku)
Overtime win to defeat the hometown club.
Yokohama Golden Gryphons (Kanto) 3 (3-2, 0-2, 0-5) 9 Meiji University
University students beat adults (amateurs, so university team gets to practice a lot more, actually.)
Toyo University 13 (4-0, 6-0, 3-1) 1 Shiga Selects (Kinki)
Sapporo Polaris (Hokkaido) 15 (5-0, 4-0, 6-1) 1 Tohoku Gakuin University
Polaris should make it far in this tourney, they're trying to get into the AL, eventually.
Hachinohe Kodai-ichi Highschool 2 (0-1, 1-1, 1-2) 4 Toyota Auto Century (Hokkaido)
The highschoolers tied the game halfway through the third, but the amateur adult team put them away with two more goals.
Toyama Selects (Hokushinetsu-Tokai) 2 (1-5, 1-4, 0-1) 10 Kushiro Koseisha (Hokkaido)
Surpass Anabuki (West Japan) 5 (1-2, 2-0, 2-0) 2 Hokkai Highschool
Highschoolers scored the first goal, but couldn't beat the West Japan champs, but they didn't get crushed though.
Hosei University 4 (1-1, 2-0, 1-1) 2 Komadai Tomakomai Highschool
Highschool champs take on 2nd place Intercollegiate team, put up a valliant fight but was not enough.
03-02-2006, 11:14 AM
Mar 2 - Round 3 - Round of 16
Yoshida Sangyo 3 (0-1, 0-2, 3-3) 6 Meiji Univ
Meiji was dominant all game but Yoshida's goalie Fujiki kept them in the game. Yoshida managed to score 3 in the 3rd, but couldn't top the Intercollegiate champs.
Toyo Univ 10 (2-1, 3-2, 5-0) 3 Sapporo Polaris
Home team Sapporo managed to tie the game at one point, but got fatigued in the 3rd period and allowed 5 goals to the young students.
Hokkaido Toyota Centuries 2 (0-0, 0-0, 2-1) 1 Kushiro Kosei-sha
Great goaltending on both sides kept the game scoreless until the final period. All goals were scored after 50 minutes. Toyota took a 2 goal lead at 58:42, Kosei managed to get one back with 10 seconds left but time ran out on their comeback effort.
Surpass Anabuki 6 (1-2, 3-2, 1-1, OT1-0) 5 Hosei Univ
Hosei kept on taking the lead and Anabuki kept on tying the game. Anabuki finally gets one in the net in OT to take the final lead and win the game!
Mar 3 - Quarterfinal games (Seeded AL teams join the tournament)
10:00 Oji Paper vs Meiji Univ
13:00 Toyo Univ vs Nikko Kobe IceBucks
16:00 Kokudo vs Hokkaido Toyota Centuries
19:00 Surpass Anabuki vs Nippon Paper Cranes
Seeing how the Bucks (6th in AL regular season) manhandled Anabuki 16-0 a few weeks ago, all the quarterfinal games are going to be blowouts. But it's probably a good opportunity for amateur players to experience top level Asian hockey and open tournaments create interesting matchups, as seen above.
03-04-2006, 07:53 PM
Anyang next weekend!
Saturday AND Sunday, games two and three of the playoff series.
See you there!
03-05-2006, 09:48 PM
Yes, Anyang and the Cranes make their appearance in the AL playoffs now, should be very interesting :)
The rest of the All-Japan championship tournament.
Quarterfinals - Mar 3
Oji Paper 6 (2-0, 4-1, 0-1) 2 Meiji Univ
Toyo Univ 0 (0-3, 0-1, 0-2) 6 Nikko-Kobe IceBucks
Kokudo 7 (2-0, 4-1, 1-0) 1 Hokkaido Toyota Centuries
Surpass Anabuki 1 (0-5, 0-8, 1-1) 17 Nippon Paper Cranes
Just as in AL play, the Cranes like to run up the score. AL teams totally dominated the play, as expected. The gap between the AL teams and the rest of Japan is very large, but regional leagues are popping up now that pit the best teams of different prefectures (states) against eachother, so hopefully this will aid in making the second tier teams stronger. Interesting that two universities and a team from western Japan (not known for snow and ice) made it to the quarterfinals with just one local Hokkaido amateur team, the home of Japanese hockey.
Meiji Univ attacking on Oji goalie Imoo
Toyo Univ chasing an IceBuck carrying the puck
Toyota kept the game close 1-2 in the first half against Kokudo
Surpass stood no chance against regular season AL champs the Cranes' attacks
Semifinals - Mar 4 (The scheduling's a bit insane because there's no days off between rounds..)
Oji Paper 5 (2-0, 0-0, 3-1) 1 Nikko-Kobe IceBucks
06:43 Oji G:20 Podollan A:28 Isojima
14:47 Oji G:10 Higashi A:20 Podollan 28 Isojima
42:36 Oji G:16 Te, Saito A:19 Ta, Saito, 21 Kawahira
53:15 Bucks G:18 Ihara A:25 Podein
56:41 Oji G:44 Keller A:16 Te, Saito, 19 Ta, Saito
58:02 Oji G:20 Podollan A:90 Miwa
Kokudo 2 (1-0, 1-2, 0-0, ot0-1) 3 Nippon Paper Cranes
14:52 Kokudo G:40 Fujita A:9 Sato, 75 Yule
24:43 Cranes G:34 Haratake A:11 Nishiwaki
33:14 Cranes G:71 Kuwabara A:14 M, Sato, 26 Plante
36:17 Kokudo G:16 Obara A:3 Yamaguchi
68:29 Cranes G:26 Plante A:3 Ito, 7 Dyck
Plante with the game winner in OT!
Oji's Dusty Imoo
Kokudo vs Cranes
Kokudo's Kikuchi makes a save and Kokudo's Miura and Cranes' Kuwabara fighting for the rebound.
Bronze and Gold medal games - Mar 5
Bronze medal game
Nikko-Kobe IceBucks 1 (0-1, 0-1, 1-2) 4 Kokudo
11:08 Kokudo G:43 Kawamura A:18 Suzuki, 5 Miyauchi
17:57 Kokudo G:75 Yule A:40 Fujita, 16 Obara
47:52 Kokudo G:33 Prpic A:18 Suzuki, 12 Uchiyama
49:16 Bucks G:15 Mita A:16 Tsuchida, 14 Ono
53:33 Kokudo G:21 Kayamori A:24 Masuko, 13 Sasaki
Gold medal final (this all-Hokkaido finals was actually shown tape delayed on broadcast TV - the educational arm of national broadcaster NHK - didn't know that though.)
Oji Paper 3 (1-0, 1-4, 1-1) 5 Nippon Paper Cranes
00:51 Cranes G:10 Higashi A:20 Podollan
24:10 Cranes G:34 Haratake A:18 M, Ito, 3 K, Ito
25:22 Oji G:24 Sakurai A:21 Kawahira
29:57 Cranes G:14 M, Sato A:26 Plante
35:35 Cranes G:14 M, Sato, A:26 Plante
38:54 Cranes G:14 M, Sato A:26 Plante
46:58 Oij G:7 Domeki A:16 Te, Saito
54:34 Cranes G:71 Kuwabara, A:14 M, Sato
59:25 Oji G:44 Keller, A:16 Te, Saito
59:47 Cranes G:20 Mitani A:71 Kuwabara, 30 J, Nihei (G)
A natural hat trick by Sato, all asisted by Plante (unstoppable! would've love to have seen the game for that) seals the game for the Cranes, despite the late comeback attempt by Oji. And the Cranes win their first ever All-Japan championship, congratulations! I forgot that the Cranes used to be minnows in the old Japanese league, so they hadn't won any All-Japan titles in their history despite their recent dominance.
Tournament MVP was the Cranes' #14 Masashi Sato.
Cranes (black) vs Oji (red, Habs homage uniform), both teams playing in their colours, very cool
Podollan hooks K, Ito
Miwa looks for an opening during a PP chance
03-10-2006, 01:58 PM
AL playoffs have resumed with the semifinals on Thursday, after quite a break where Japanese teams had the All-Japan tournament, and Halla wasn't involved in the North-South match that took place in Chuncheon.
Semifinals Game 1
Kokudo 4 at Halla 0, despite Halla outshooting Kokudo. The former bunnies scored two quick goals to open the game and never looked back.
Oji 4 at Cranes 5. In this game 1 of Hokkaido derby semifinals, Cranes took a commanding 5-1 lead partway through the game, only to have Oji make a valiant comeback effort in the last 10 minutes of the game where they scored 3 goals to make it a one goal game. But it was too little too late and the Cranes take a 1-0 lead in the best of 5 series.
03-10-2006, 07:31 PM
Will be at both games in Anyang over the weekend. I really don't think Nedved has the strength to contain Prpic in front of the net -- much like the lanky Ponto was unable to last season. If Anyang can stay out of the box and thus neutralize Prpic's effectiveness against Halla, we might have a shot. Anyang's "star" players will have to be at their best...
Please god, oh please....keep Fujita off the scoresheet...Can't stand that cheapshot SOB!
03-11-2006, 09:31 PM
Wow! Anyang outshoots Kokudo 53-27...That stat is a little misleading. Kikuchi did stand on his head and would likely be the first star if the league did that sort of thing, but most of the shots on the Japanese keeper were coming from the wings at angles that were easy to stop. Surprisingly, Kokudo did a fine job at keeping Anyang's attack to the periphery.
Anyang absolutely dominated Kokudo in the second period. Halla has to learn to come down the wings, put on the brakes and THEN find the man. They did a great job at gaining the zone, but took too many "low percentage" shots and Kikuchi was giving up few rebounds.
Despite Anyang's success on Saturday and their hard-earned win, it is abundantly clear that Kokudo is a notch above in terms of talent. If Halla is to win this series it will have to come from their gut and winning in Japan will not be easy.
Love what the Czech coach has done with this team this season. For lack of a better word, they just seem more confident. That said, I still think my boy Kim, Han Sung is being misused. He's Anyang's biggest forward and closest thing they have to a power forward. This guy should be playing with more grit and going harder to the net. I'd love to see him assume a kind of aggitator's role -- particularly on the pp. He should be going to the net like Holmstrom does in Detriot. Was pleased to see him score and then add the empty-netter on Saturday though.
"Chicken Fujita" registered two assists on the Yule goals. Trying to rebuild my world right now... :)
03-12-2006, 03:24 AM
..Not much to say about today's game. Anyang got beat up from the start. This all but caps the season for Halla. Congrats to the boys on improving their game over last year!
03-15-2006, 03:49 AM
Thanks for the interesting report! I was wondering how Kokudo gave up 50+ shots in a game. I enjoyed the powder up in Hokkaido this past weekend and came back in time to watch the final game of the semifinal series in Tokyo and what a bizzare game it was.
Cranes took three straight in the Hokkaido derby semifinal and advanced to the finals, by the way.
Kokudo just beat Halla 5-1 to win the semifinal series 3 games to 1 and advance to the finals against the Cranes, rematch of last season.
It was the strangest of games. With the score 2-0 for Kokudo with one
minute left in the 2nd, it looked like Halla scored, but the puck hit
the boards behind the net and play continued while Halla players
celebrated and pointed at the net. Kokudo meanwhile has an easy 2 on 0
rush and scores. So, was the score 2-1 or 3-0 or 2-0? This was a huge
turning point and despite the protests by the Koreans (and the Czechs
on Halla), Halla goal was ruled a no goal, and the Kokudo goal stood,
so the score was 3-0. Ref tried to resume the game but Halla refused
to ice the team in protest of the decision. It almost looked like the
4 Kokudo players would be rushing in on the poor Halla goalie at one
point, but that didn't happen. There was a healthy Korean cheering
section (they were cheering on some shoving and scuffling earlier,
while Japanese fans stayed quiet) and they were mighty upset with this
decision, shouting and even threw a plastic cheering megaphone on the
In the end, the period didn't resume so the zamboni came in, and the
last minute of the 2nd was played right before the 3rd period. But
Halla had been assessed two bench minors for not icing their players,
so when the play resumed Kokudo scored two easy goals to make it 5-0
then both teams seem to lose interest in the game. Well, Kokudo looked
rather nonchalant for the whole game, but Halla was making the game
more interesting.. until the controversy. So, now we have a rematch of
last year's finals. Hopefully Kokudo can win one or two in Hokkaido to
bring the series back to Tokyo for the last weekend of the month.
I am impressed with how Halla has kept on improving every game and every season they've been involved in the AL. Hopefully the same will be true for Kangwon Land as well.
03-16-2006, 02:45 AM
Any North Americans players in this league ? That be nice to know .
03-17-2006, 04:04 AM
Any North Americans players in this league ? That be nice to know .
The 4 Japanese teams have North American imports and Japanese-Canadians. They're allowed one import each (with the weaker Bucks two), so there are players like Shjon Podein on the Bucks and Derek Plante on the #1 seeded Cranes. The Japanese-Canadians don't count against the import restriction, but I think most have Japanese citizenship anyways. Kangwon Land of Korea also has 5 North American imports on the team.
Unfortunately with the draconian Chinese and Korean governments (latter for mandatory military service), the Chinese and Korean teams can't take advantage of heritage Canadian players. But they're allowed 4-5 imports each, and this year the Chinese teams exchanged players with the Nordic Vikings (mostly Swedish) and Halla got a Czech coach who brought along 4 Czech imports.
03-19-2006, 09:38 PM
The AL Finals began this weekend in Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan. Kokudo (Tokyo) and the home team Nippon Paper Cranes split the first two games, both by scores of 4-1. This means that the deciding game will be in Tokyo this coming weekend (yeah! I get to see the deciding game again this year) because of the 3-2 format for the best of 5 game series where the higher ranked team gets the first three home games.
Some playoff highlight videos are available here (click on the "> Movie" button at the bottom right hand of the movie boxes):
2006.3.11-12 is Kokudo at Anyang of Korea in semifinal games 2 and 3.
2006.2.21 is Oji (Tomakomai, Hokkaido) at Beijing Nordic Vikings in the quarter finals.
2006.2.19 is the Nordic Vikings at Oji in the same quarter finals.
03-24-2006, 09:30 AM
I stayed in Hokkaido for 3 weeks in this month, and saw Cranes games of All Japan Championship in Sapporo and 6 games of Asia league playoff semifinal and fianl in Kushiro.
So I couldn't see Kokudo vs Halla in Tokyo. But I hear Halla's no-goal is really a goal. There were two holes in the goal net, so the puck went through the hole. The arena has no camera for video judge. Not only Korean fans but also Japanese fans were upset. Fans are very disappointed with officials. As a Cranes fan, I'm very nervous about the game on Saturday(Of course I will go there).
Derek Plante made two OT goals in this month. Both are against Kokudo. One is in semifinal of All Japan Championship, and the other is Game 3 in playoff final in Kushiro(Mar. 21).
When Plante was a Sabre, he made a dramatic OT goal in Game 7 of NHL playoff 1st round in 1997, when Hasek was suspended and Buffalo Sabres were driven into a corner. His two OT goals remind me of that. We can see his goal and his interview in Asia league official site. He has made Masashi Sato a good sniper.
Oh, and Plante was in the penalty box when Cranes won All Japan Championship. Just like Dave Andreychuk in Tampa! Andreychuk is ex-Sabre, too.
03-29-2006, 12:56 AM
The last three games of the best of 5 AL Final were all decided by one goal (well, there was a two goal win, but that was an empty netter), a great tense and entertaining series. Cranes took a 2-1 lead in the series by winning game three 4-3, so all they had to do was win one game in Tokyo and they would've won their first ever championship (if my memory serves me correctly). Derek Plante was his usual self and had a goal and two assists in the last two games in Tokyo while creating endless chances.
Game 4 started off with the opportunities being even (or even in favour of the Cranes) but what chances Kokudo had they created them well and shot well and took a commanding 4-1 lead in the game. But the Cranes dilligently fought back and Plante's goal at the 50th minute brought them to within one goal of Kokudo, but they just couldn't score the one last goal to tie the game and take it into OT. Game winning goal was a weak floater that Prpic shot from around the blue line that went over the shoulder of Jiro Nihei who had otherwise been playing well (none of the first 4 goals were his fault).
The deciding game 5 started off much better for the Cranes as they took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Then the Prpic-Yule-Suzuki line took over and scored three goals to take the lead early in the third. I had never seen Prpic so animated after scoring goals, he was jumping up and down and Kokudo was truly celebrating after the game tying and leading goals. This time the Cranes tie the game at the 50th minute and I thought maybe we're going into a winner takes all game 5 OT. But Nihei let in a soft goal that trickled under his arm for the championship at the 55th minute and the Cranes couldn't recover from that despite a constant attack and pulling the goalie for the 6th attacker in the last minutes of the game. It was a shame for Nihei as he had played brilliantly at points during both games 4 and 5 standing on his head to keep the Cranes in the game, but Kokudo's game winning goals for both games were weak shots that he definitely should have stopped, mental lapse perhaps?
Congratulations Kokudo on the second straight championship! The great Kokudo-Cranes rivalry should be well renewed next season (and we don't know much about next season, the number of teams, in which country, the number of games, etc.)
Cranes lost in the AL Final for the second year in a row to Kokudo after dominating the regular season
03-29-2006, 11:47 PM
Cranes became AL champions two years ago. but that was not in the same system as now. There were no playoffs. Cranes have never won the playoff finals.
I went to AL awards ceremony at Shinagawa Prince Hotel on Mar.27.
Fans could go there if they paid 5 thousand yen.
Chairman Tomita said at the begining, "AL finals remind me of Torino's final game. Finland was surperior to Sweden, but Sweden with size and experience won the gold."
This is what I feel about the finals. I think Cranes are surperior, but Kokudo's size and experience beat them.
Cranes were not themselves in the finals. Plante's line was made powerless by Kokudo, especially Prpic's line. It didn't happen before. In semifinals, the 1st line blew up Oji.
Halla have two award winners but they didn't come to the ceremony. because of the game in Higashifushimi, I think.
Awards winners are:
◆Most Valuable Player (MVP)
Kokudo GK 39 Naoya Kikuchi
◆Best Play Making FW
Nippon Paper Cranes FW #26 Derek Plante
◆Best Offensive FW
Anyang Halla FW 96 Song Dong-Hwan
◆Best Defensive FW
Kokudo FW 40 Kiyoshi Fujita
◆Best Offensive DF
Nippon Paper Cranes DF 3 Kengo Ito
◆Best Defensive DF
Anyang Halla DF 55 Jaroslav Nedved
Nippon Paper Cranes GK 30 Jiro Nihei
◆YOUNG GUY OF THE YEAR
Nippon Paper Cranes FW 11 Masahito Nishiwaki
Nippon Paper Cranes GK 30 Jiro Nihei
Anyang Halla FW 96 Song Dong-Hwan
Nippon Paper Cranes FW 26 Derek Plante
Nippon Paper Cranes FW 26 Derek Plante
◆Best Head Coach
Kokudo Shinichi Iwasaki
◆HOCKEY TOWN IN ASIA
Anyang （Home Town of Anyang Halla）
I took a pic.
03-30-2006, 12:45 AM
the latest photos are at the bottom.
Cranes won the All Japan Championship and players welcome Derek Plante who got out of the penalty box.
After the game of Team Japan vs Frankfurt Lions in Nagano, Bucks goalie Haruna shook hands with Lions' Chris Bright(both of them were MVP of the game).
Ex-Sabre James Patrick played for Lions in Nagano.
Japan won Nagano Cup, and Haruna won MVP, in Feb.06.
03-30-2006, 01:17 AM
Oh yeah, that's right, forgot about that first experimental season of AL, thanks for pointing that out.
AL's being cheap by chargin 5000 yen (about $50) for fans to attend the awards ceremony eh (though I realize AL financing is in dire straits and they would take any additional income they can get their hands on). Were there many others that paid to get in? And was it worth the money?
And the Japanese office will really have to smooth things out with Halla for the upcoming season. This is not looking good, on top of the Vikings debacle, Kokudo being absorbed by Seibu railways (or was it the group itself), the unchanging talent gap between the Chinese teams and the rest of the league, etc. Lots of issues to work through. At some point we need to set up an AL 2006-07 thread, but that's probably not until some of these things have solidified or been resolved, until then, shall we keep most offseason stuff here?
And wow, you were at the Nagano Cup? You sure get around, how did you enjoy the games? They looked decent on the internet on-demand broadcast..
04-03-2006, 12:33 AM
Attending AL awards ceremony and party was an experience for me because I had never attended such an event.
After the ceremony, we had a party. The players signed for fans. Most of them were award winners of Cranes and Kokudo, though.
I wish Halla's Song and Nedved had been there.
The number of the attendance was very small. Media people were a very few(less than ten, I think). I suppose 30 or 40 fans were there.
The other day in Kushiro, Cranes celebrated All Japan Championship Victory with 700 fans at Kushiro ANA Hotel. I couldn't go there but I hear fans enjoyed themselves. Hokkaido fans are great. Kushiro Ice Arena was filled with 3000 fans in finals.
Oh, yes, Nagano Cup games were wonderful. Seeing European teams is rare experience in Japan. I happened to take a seat among Bucks fans. They were enthusiastic and happy when Haruna was awarded MVP.
NHK broadcast All Japan Championship Final every year. If such information isn't known to foreigners, I will write in this board.
04-14-2006, 10:42 PM
TokyoBucks & Tokyosabre:
Sincere thanks for all of your posts this season. I have read each and every one and appreciated the updates...Hope you guys are around next season on the boards. Cheers!
TokyoBucks & Tokyosabre:
Sincere thanks for all of your posts this season. I have read each and every one and appreciated the updates...Hope you guys are around next season on the boards. Cheers!
HunterOrangeHunter Orange - if you (or anyone else) are interested in some more indepth information about this past season, including the perspective of one of the players from the Nordic Vikings, click here (http://www.internationalhockeygang.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1330&page=3)