Japan: Seibu(Kokudo), Nikko-Kobe Icebucks, Nippon Paper Cranes, Oji Paper
Korea: Anyang Halla, Kangwon Land
China: Hosa (Beijing, relocated Harbin), Changchun (relocated Qiqihar)
(Nordic Vikings have suspended operations for 2006-07 but plan on participating in 2007-08 provided that they can secure enough sponsorship.)
Interestingly Harbin and Qiqihar are relocating to Hosa (Beijing) and Changchun, respectively. Harbin's actually going to share the Hosa Skate Centre home arena (under renovation, as reported by the Vikings) with the Vikings. That arena always had extremely low attendance, so I wonder about the capacity. Vikings also have a local TV contract (AL first!?) so that's encouraging. http://www.alhockey.jp/news/2006Jun/0630_main.html
Parent company of Kokudo is going through major restructuring due to financial scandals and mergers. The team is running a name the team contest. The company name on the team will likely be one of Kokudo, Seibu, or Prince (Hotels). And the nickname will be suggested by the public. http://www.kokudo.co.jp/icehockey/i...ial/memo18.html
A fascinating report on Martin Hyun, the Korean-German player who was reportedly working out with Kangwon Land already last year. He's actually working on his PhD right now and acting as a cultural bridge between Korea and Germany. Too bad the one year he got to play in the DEL was the NHL lockout year, so he wasn't given much ice time.
Because Japanese teams carry many Japanese heritage players (mostly Japanese-Canadians), the AL office should decide that Korean-Canadian player Benedict Song doesn't count against the import quota, which would free up an import slot for Hyun. But that doesn't make any sense either, Hyun shouldn't count as an import as well because he's a Korean heritage player, just like Song. Unless all the Japanese-Canadians acquired Japanese citizenships when AL started... (I guess Hyun switched/acquired German citizenship at some point because Germany only recently granting citizenships to children of immigrants but Hyun played on German junior teams.)
A hockey life on three continents
By Bill Meltzer | NHL.com correspondent
July 14, 2006
While the majority of people in his native Germany were preoccupied with World Cup soccer and most of his fellow hockey players had their eyes on the Stanley Cup Finals, 27-year-old Martin Hyun had other things on his mind. Hyun has devoted his life to a goal even loftier -- and more elusive -- than a sports championship.
Hyun, who played pro hockey in Germany's Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), NCAA college hockey and semi-pro hockey in Belgium, has traveled to his ancestral homeland of South Korea. He hopes to use hockey as one tool for creating stronger cultural bridges between East and West.
The player, working on a Ph.D. on the social integration of ethnic minorities in Korea and Germany has stayed busy, to say the least. Hyun is well-known in his home country for being the first Korean-German to play a professional sport at a European elite level. That status has also made him something of a celebrity in Seoul.
Upon his arrival in South Korea, Hyun began work in the office of the former Health and Welfare Minister Kim Geun-tae and Korean-German Parliament-relations chairman Dr. Kim Chong-in while working on his dissertation (the working title is "Silent, Yes. Speechless, No").
What is the method of bringing over import players from North America? Are there teams that actively seek to have imports playing, or do they try to keep their teams full with Asian talent? Do you have information about the financial side of playing in the league?
The money is probably decent because some players have turned down offers from top European leagues like the DEL (though they'd be fringe players there) to play for Japanese teams (haven't heard any salary figures for Korean and Chinese teams though). But Japanese teams are only allowed one import player each, except for the lowly Bucks who are allowed two. Korean and Chinese teams are allowed more imports, up to five players, to balance out the league.
Japanese teams have mostly North American imports (though some are via Europe), the Korean team Halla has Czech imports because of the Czech coach, the other Korean team Kangwon Land has North American imports but I'm not sure what the connections were that got them recruited. Chinese teams last year used Scandinavian players on exchange from the Beijing based Nordic Vikings team, so I'm not sure where they're going to get their imports from this year (two seasons ago, the Chinese teams were stocked with Czech and Russian players).
The North Americans on the Japanese teams seem to be recruited via Japanese coaches with North American connections. So I reckon the situation's pretty similar elsewhere, but I'm not certain.
There will be Pre-Season Games of 4 Japanese teams of AL (from Japanese AL site)
Kokudo's new name is not fixed yet. Seibu is a provisional name.
Asia League Pre-Season Match in Tokyo (Higashifushimi Ice Arena)
Aug.31 19:15 Seibu(Kokudo) vs Bucks
Sep.1 19:15 Cranes vs Oji
Sep.2 13:00 Seibu vs Oji, 16:30 Cranes vs Bucks
Sep.3 13:00 Oji vs Bucks, 16:30 Seibu vs Cranes
Sep.9 16:00 Seibu vs Cranes (Higashifushimi)
Sep.15 18:30 Cranes vs Oji (Kushiro Ice Arena (Kushiro, Hokkaido))
Sep.16 14:00 Bucks vs Seibu (Nikko Kirifuri Ice Arena (Nikko, Tochigi))
Pride Cup 2006 Yokohama
Sep.18 14:00 Seibu vs Bucks (Shin-yokohama Prince Hotel Skate Center (Yokohama, Kanagawa))
Sep.18 13:00 Oji vs Cranes (Oji Paper Skate Center (Tomakomai, Hokkaido))
In other related news, the parent paper companies of the two Hokkaido teams are battling it out in the business front. It likely won't have any impact on the league, but at least both companies are healthy enough to be attempting Japan's first ever hostile takeover on one hand and trying to be the white knight on the other.
Nippon Paper Group Inc. said Thursday it will increase its holdings in Hokuetsu Paper Mills Ltd. to as much as 10 percent after Hokuestu issues new shares to Mitsubishi Corp. as an apparent defense against a hostile takeover bid by Oji Paper Co.
Nippon Paper, the nation's second largest papermaker after Oji, now owns 8.49 percent of Hokuetsu.
It is officially informed that Vikings won't join in 06/07 season.
tbboltsfan03, tickets are available at arenas on days of the games.
Advance tickets of games in Japan are sold at Ticket Pia.
I hear Sky A (one of the CS channels) had broadcast AL games berore. Perhaps 04/05 season, but I haven't seen them.
Last season, Hokkaido local NHK(Nippon Hoso Kyokai) boadcast Kushiro's 2 games(Cranes vs Kokudo), and a Sapporo's TV station broadcast 1 game(Oji vs Kokudo) in Sapporo. Those were only seen in Kushiro, or Sapporo.
Long long ago, there was NHK's nationwide broadcast of Japan League games. 70's and early 80's were golden era of Japanese Hockey.
NHK nationwide broadcast All Japan Championship's final game every year.
Last edited by tokyosabre: 08-12-2006 at 11:52 PM.
Hey, thanks for the info! Should be interesting to see what a former tough guy does in the AL.
8 team 34 games/team schedule announced by AL in Japanese, English announcement should follow.
Changes to participating teams:
- Vikings will not participate this season due to financial reasons.
- Kokudo has yet to announce it's new team name, AL is using "Seibu" as a place holder for now.
- Harbin moved to Beijing's Hosa arena (used by the Vikings in the latter part of last season) and renamed to Hosa.
- Qiqihar moved to and renamed as Changchun Fuao where the 2007 Asian Winter Games will be held from 27 Jan to 4 Feb (the team's supposed to raise interest in the Games supposedly).
All teams will play 4 games against all other teams for 28 games per team. Teams will play 2 more games each against "regional rivals", four Japanese teams against eachother, and the four Chinese and Korean teams against eachother for total of 6 additional games per team.
Regular season runs from 23 Sep to 21 Jan.
Playoffs is 17 Feb to 25 Mar.
The break in the schedule accomodates the Asian Winter Games and (likely) national tournaments.
Season opener is the 23 Sep weekend with the Honshu vs Hokkaido matches at Higashifushimi (Tokyo), Korean derby at Anyang (Seoul), and Chinese derby at Changchun.
The annual "Xmas Games" on 23-24 Dec featuring the Honshu vs Hokkaido matchups in Sapporo is on schedule again.
As usual, there are various games in Japan scheduled outside the hometowns of participating teams.
Nagano City, Nagano
He's been around quite a bit. Has 115 NHL games played here and there, but most of the time he was an AHLer who put up a couple above-point-per-game seasons but seems like an average minor-league player. Should do well in the Asia league though.
Paul Theriault will be an assistant coach of Cranes. He was an assistant coach of Buffalo Sabres in 96/97 season, when Ted Nolan was the head coah and Derek Plante was the top scorer of the team.
Matt Kabayama, assistant coach, left Cranes.
A blend of youth and experience. What's the level of RUS 3rd level and Belarus League? I think Golden Amur (Amur's 3rd team, had the skills to do well in AL but lack of passion destined them to midtable) from AL 2004-05 was about RUS 3rd level..
Hmm.. I wonder who Hosa (ex-Harbin) is importing this season.
Please tell me your thought about an accident in Seibu vs Cranes game.
Early in the first period, Cranes Masashi Sato crashed with Seibu players. He lost his helmet, and fell down to ice. Then he went into convulsions. This happened in front of Seibu goal, so Seibu players were shocked and worried as well as Cranes players.
Sato was carried on the stretcher. He must have hit the back of his head. He will be in a hospital for a while, they said.
I don't know much about hockey injuries. I'm worried about his injury, so I want to know anything about such an injury. Thank you.
I read your post in International Hockey Forum. Please write reports in this forum, too. Especially about too many penalties.
Japanese fans are very frustrated about them. But Asian hockey must fit to the international rules. As you say, Asian hockey doesn't have any problem of low scoring, but they must adopt the international rules.
Your opinions are very useful. Let me read them, please.
Last edited by tokyosabre: 09-03-2006 at 11:59 AM.
Oh, it was Masashi Sato, that explains it. I thought it was Sakai because he came out of the lockeroom area about 10 minutes later and went back on the ice. And I thought it was very strange and dangerous that a player who got knocked unconscious and convulsing was allowed back on the ice after 10 minutes without a hospital visit. I hope the damage Sato has received has been minimized, but I haven't heard anything about it.
Here's what I posted there..
I saw preseason games yesterday at Higashifushimi, Tokyo involving the four Japanese teams. Oji 5 - 1 Bucks game was a bore. It looked like both teams were just scrimmaging, sloppy and sluggish. Skalde didn't make much of an impression either. But then again, refs called too many penalties being way too eager in reinterpretation of the rules cracking down on intereference and clutching and grabbing in a league that didn't have any scoring problems anyways.
Seibu 4 - 2 Cranes was a much better game with players that looked like they were closer to in season form, better team play, and not as penalty marred (organizers JIHF(?) cycled three referee teams in each game, each handling a period).
Interestingly, Bucks beat Seibu 5-1 on Thursday, then lost to the Cranes 9-0 on Saturday before going down to Oji 5-1 today. And Seibu beat the Cranes today as reported above. But then again, many teams are playing lots of young guys and it's still early in preseason, so you probably can't read into these results too much.
Though there's three weeks to go before the season opens, it looks like another year of Cranes and Seibu (ex-Kokudo) leading the league with other Japanese and Korean teams chasing them and the Chinese teams as doormats. Hopefully the Korean teams keep on improving, they're quite promising and have added quality players as well.
Kokudo from last year officially became the Seibu PrinceRabbits at today's final preseason game. What the heck is a PrinceRabbit? Beats me The old Kokudo team used to have a bunny as a logo, so the team's gone back to it's roots, sort of. But rabbits and princes are both don't have a powerful image, ah well. At least they're unique.
As for the game itself, the Bucks and Seibu both looked just like they did two weeks ago. So Seibu looks ready for the season and the Bucks don't look good (game was, 5-0 1-0 1-0 for a 7-0 win by Seibu), though the Bucks were somewhat unlucky to get shutout as they had decent scoring chances in periods 2 and 3. But losing 3 key players from the roster to the other Japanese teams has really hurt the Bucks, who are also importless (looks like they're waiting for cuts in the C or U like in the past to get players on the cheap). Losing supergoalie Haruna is really going to hurt the team as he kept the team in many games in the past when they were getting totally outshot.
I didn't go to Shin-Yokohama. It seems Bucks' new imported player Mike Henderson(#9) didn't play. He is young. He played in ECHL.
Bucks have very serious finacial problems. They lost 3 players to 3 Japanese teams and a player to Kangwonland. I think it is mainly because the team can't pay their salary. Actually, the team doesn't pay a part of players' salary of last season yet.
They don't have full roster yet. I'm afraid they have only 5 defences.
Some of Bucks fans bought bonds to help the team financially. A bond=One hundred thousand yen.
"Prince" of Seibu Prince Rabbits comes from Prince Hotel.
The name of Suntory Higashifushimi Ice Arena is changed to Dydo Drink Ice Arena.
Today(Sep.19), Japanese hockey magazine "Ice Hockey Magazine" will be sold at bookstores. I think we can see teams' rosters in it.
Last edited by tokyosabre: 09-19-2006 at 10:24 AM.
I didn't catch the Henderson signing, thanks ts. I wonder why it hasn't been announced on the AL site yet. Yeah, this is going to be a very tough season for the Bucks who are missing so many key players from last season. Anyways, since there's no press releases of player transfers in English, here's a quick summary of offseason activities by the Japanese teams.
Keisuke Matsuda D b.1981.5.12
Nikko-Kobe IceBucks => Seibu (Kokudo)
AL 2004-05 42GP 5G 11A 16P
AL 2005-06 38GP 2G 8A 10P
* Small physically, but good young player with junior national team experience.
Yoshinori Iimura F b.1981.8.4
Nikko-Kobe IceBucks => Nippon Paper Cranes
AL 2004-05 38GP 12G 15A 27P
AL 2005-06 31GP 8G 12A 20P
* Another key young Buck, he even has Japanese NT experience in WCh competition.
- 57 year old Ronald Ivany is the new Head Coach at Oji. He has a long career in Europe, mostly in Italy. Most recently assistant coach of Team Italy at Torino 2006.
- Former Oji veteran and coach Yo****aka Kano returns as Ivany's assistant.
Masahito Haruna G b.1973.7.16
Nikko-Kobe IceBucks => Oji
UHL 2003-04 20GP 3.16GAA 89.5Sv%
AL 2004-05 26GP 2.73GAA 91.8 Sv%
AL 2005-06 27GP 2.59GAA 91.12Sv% http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php3?pid=73030
* Japan National Team veteran. This loss hurts the Bucks the most because he kept the team in contention in many close games where they were getting badly outshot.
Tomohito Okubo D b.1976.9.22
Nikko-Kobe IceBucks => Kangwon Land
AL 2004-05 27GP 1G 7A 8P (with Kokudo)
AL 2005-06 38GP 5G 15A 20P
* Third team in as many years. Good to see the AL is providing opportunities to players who are looking for them.
Released from Oji:
Makoto Kawahira F b.1971 - 17 years at Oji, recently playing coach, National Team veteran. Stats indicate he can still play, probably going to work for Oji Paper full time now as a regular employee.
AL 2005-06 32GP 10G 13A 23P
Dusty Imoo G b.1970 - Japanese-Canadian who gained Japanese citizenship to play at Nagano 98. Team Japan mainstay. Hextall-like temper He's also got the stats to still keep on playing. Wonder what he's up to these days..
AL 2005-06 32GP 2.39GAA 89.92Sv% http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p....php3?pid=2457
Jarrod Skalde F b.1971.2.26
Leksands IF (SEL) => Oji
Career minor leaguer with some cups of coffee in the NHL. He's had point per game seasons in AHL performance has declined in recent years (not surprising considering his age), should do very well in the AL. http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p....php3?pid=4991
Mike Henderson F b.1980.11.22
Esberg (DEN) => Nikko-Kobe IceBucks
Season Team Liga GP G A Pts. PIM
1999-00 Barrie Colts OHL 68 23 27 50 31
2000-01 Barrie Colts OHL 69 32 39 71 58
2001-02 Cincinnati Cyclones ECHL 75 17 18 35 40
2002-03 Greenville Grrrowl ECHL 74 21 37 58 20
2003-04 Greenville Grrrowl ECHL 69 20 19 39 11
2004-05 Heilbronn Oberliga 39 29 21 50 20
2005-06 Victoria Salmon Kings ECHL 14 4 2 6 4
2005-06 Esbjerg Denmark 13 2 3 5 8
* A young forward for the Bucks! This is promising after losing all those key players to transfers. I haven't seen him yet in preseason play, visa problems? http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...id%5B%5D=44974
Edit: deal seems to have fell through, apparently he's playing in Italian 2nd division right now.
Last edited by Tokyo Bucks: 09-20-2006 at 07:10 AM.