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Asia League 2005-2006

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Old
07-27-2005, 05:29 AM
  #1
Tokyo Bucks
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Asia League 2005-2006

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The only Russian team, Khavarovsk Golden Amur have withdrawn from the league (and the regular Russian league) from financial troubles.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.
http://www.alhockey.com/news/050722/index.html
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.
http://www.alhockey.com/news/050628/index.html

Shjon Podein has signed with the Nikko-Kobe Ice Bucks! (Japanese press release)
http://www.icebucks.net/modules/news...php?storyid=50
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.

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07-30-2005, 06:44 PM
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Baron Von Shark
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That's interesting. I wonder how the attendance is / will be.

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08-02-2005, 11:53 PM
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Tokyo Bucks
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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.

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08-03-2005, 03:58 AM
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Baron Von Shark
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Do us a favor and post frequent updates! Thanks.

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08-03-2005, 06:22 PM
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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.

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08-04-2005, 12:00 PM
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hunter orange
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Tokyo Bucks:

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.

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08-04-2005, 08:58 PM
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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.

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08-12-2005, 04:46 PM
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Go to Tokyo a lot - will check out

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08-18-2005, 12:49 AM
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Player signing for Asian league

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:
http://www.amarillogorillas.com/wmne....php?ArtID=437

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08-18-2005, 10:05 PM
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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.
http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p....php3?pid=3926
http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php3?pid=57044
http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php3?pid=57025

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.


Last edited by Tokyo Bucks: 08-19-2005 at 10:35 AM.
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Old
08-26-2005, 03:59 PM
  #11
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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.

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08-26-2005, 10:33 PM
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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.

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08-27-2005, 06:45 PM
  #13
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i would like to see asia come into the world hockey ring that will be very nice

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08-29-2005, 03:05 PM
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vancity1975
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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.

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09-01-2005, 10:22 PM
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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 )
http://www.nordicvikings.com/

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.

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09-02-2005, 09:18 AM
  #16
Petey21
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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?

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09-03-2005, 03:04 AM
  #17
hunter orange
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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...

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09-04-2005, 02:33 AM
  #18
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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 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.

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09-04-2005, 08:49 AM
  #19
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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!

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09-08-2005, 09:02 PM
  #20
hunter orange
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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!

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09-08-2005, 10:26 PM
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Shcedule's finally posted here (couple days after the Japanese site, they seriously need translators/English media people):
http://www.alhockey.com/schedule/index.html

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 :-)


Last edited by Tokyo Bucks: 09-08-2005 at 10:34 PM.
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09-09-2005, 01:35 AM
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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!

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09-09-2005, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kroz
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.

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Old
09-11-2005, 02:10 PM
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Nordic Vikings seem pretty solid in fact.

Riku W/Varjamo could be a bottom pairing defenseman in SM-liiga..

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Old
09-13-2005, 05:03 AM
  #25
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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...

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