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    Archive for February 15th, 2008

    アイスホッケー世界選手権ディビジョンIII予備予選

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 February 15日 Friday

    またまた注目度激低の大会に目を向けて見ましょう。

    今日から三日間オシム氏の母国ボスニアの首都サラエボ(1984年冬季五輪開催都市)でIIHF世界選手権Division III の予備予選が行われます(ちなみに日本はこの予備予選よりも世界ランキングが30くらい上のDivision I で健闘していて、今年は札幌でDivision Iの大会を開催します)。

    参加国:

    アルメニア

    ギリシャ

    ボスニア・ヘルツェゴビナ

     

    今日から3日間総当りで、1位のチームが3/31-4/7 にルクセンブルグで開催される世界選手権Division III (既に出場が決まってる5チームはカタール(!)、南アフリカ、北朝鮮、モンゴル(!)と、ホスト国のルクセンブルグ)に参加できます。

    予備予選のスケジュール:

    2008.2.15 ギリシャ-ボスニア・ヘルツェゴビナ

    2008.2.16 ギリシャ-アルメニア

    2008.2.17 ボスニア・ヘルツェゴビナ-アルメニア

     

    この3チームですが、まずアルメニアはアメリカ在住(生まれは分からないが育ちとホッケートレーニングは米国)の選手が多く、最近だと毎回世界選手権でビザや参加資格関係の問題を起こしているお騒がせチームです。でも、この3チームの中では実力No.1でしょう。(U20 Div III に参加してた選手が9人いますので、もう少し上のレベルでの経験もあります。)

    アルメニアに比べると、ボスニアはサラエボにZetra Olympic Hallというホームリンク(しかも12000人収容!)があるのですが、紛争等厳しい内部事情が長年続いていたので2002-03シーズン以降、国内リーグも選手権も開催できていない状態です。そして(多分)即席で結成されたボスニア代表がクロアチアに練習試合をしに行ったら、クロアチア最弱のチームHK Ina Sisakに8-2と惨敗してしまいました。ホスト国ですが苦戦するでしょう。

    そしてホッケー事情に関しては、ギリシャが一番厳しい状況に置かれています。これは、なんと国内にスケートリンクが存在しないからです(もう最後のリンクが潰されてから数年たっていて、一応新リンクを建てる予定はあるそうですが…)。という事でギリシャの選手は自腹で主に隣国のブルガリアやホッケー大国のチェコで強化合宿を行っています。代表選手の多くはギリシャ国籍を持っている北米人ですが、ギリシャのインラインホッケー界から現地出身の選手を取り込んで育成しようとしている動きもあるそうです。がんばってほしいです(ホッケー発展の為にDivision III 各国についても言える事ですが)。

    当方の予想としては、ビザや参加資格の問題が無ければ、ぶっちぎりでアルメニアが1位通過してDivision III 本戦に参加するでしょう。でもチェコでの練習試合で6-8とか接戦してきたギリシャにも、もしかしたらのチャンスがあるかもしれません。ボスニアはこれからに繋げていってほしいですね。まあ、スポーツなんで試合してみるまで分かりませんが。

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    Posted in 01_日本語, hockey, information, International, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Jamie McLennan and Tyson Nash with the Nippon Paper Cranes

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 February 15日 Friday

    So, ex-NHLers Jamie McLennan and Tyson Nash, who are good friends, joined the Nippon Paper Cranes of the AL. For Jamie to finish off his career in an interesting land halfway around the world, for both of them to experience Japan and East Asia, for the different culture and hockey style and hopefully bring back the AL championship trophy to Kushiro again.

    McLennan has been very solid in the regular season since joining the team halfway through the season. Posting 92.05 Save % (good enough for 1st in the league among goalies who faced over 100 shots) and 2.50 GAA in 14 games (it’s a 30 game regular season, but there’s also an open FA Cup style knockoff championship, and national team players compete in international tournaments during IIHF international breaks. And of course, there’s the playoffs too, so the season’s longer than 30 games, much longer for some players, though nowhere near the unnecessarily grueling 100 game NHL schedule if you count the playoffs.) Tyson Nash injured his knee right away, so he only got into 5 games and scored 1 goal and 16 PIM while still getting accustomed to the less physical play of the league.

    mclennan

    nash

    These two are a definite improvement upon the cheap imports that the Cranes started the season with (perhaps being perennial champions or finalists made them overconfident?) and can definitely be a force in the upcoming playoffs which follow the disappointing regular season by the Cranes.

    What I didn’t know was that both Jamie and Tyson have online presence (I guess this shouldn’t be such a surprise these days) and are chronicling their journey through Japan and Asian hockey. These two guys seem easy going, if not a little too rambunctious for the ordinarily reserved Japanese (when not drunk), but it looks like they’re fully enjoying their life in countryside Hokkaido. And this provides a nice contrast to the infamous Ballads of Jason Johnson, a pro baseball player. Perhaps “hockey players are the most down to earth big money pro athletes” isn’t just Canadian propaganda 😛 After all, McLennan, Nash, and Johnson were never star players in the big leagues.

    Some interesting snippets of Jamie’s blog (some to The Hockey News no less) and other articles.

    From his first article to THN:

    I was going to retire this summer and pursue other interests in hockey when I received offers in Europe and Russia. I took an offer in Russia and was there for six weeks when I decided that it wasn’t for me and we parted ways (another long story but not for this article).

    Taking some time off was what I was doing when I was approached by my best buddy from growing up, Joel Dyck, who has been playing in Japan for 14 years and he told me I should come and play with him on his team to have a little fun and finish our careers together.

    So, Jamie was in Russia but things didn’t work out for him there (can’t find his Russian stats at eurohockey.net).

    And he’s long time friends with Japan and Asia League veteran and erstwhile Japanese national team player Joel Oshiro Dyck (he’s part Japanese descent who obtained Japanese passport a while back) from their junior days in Alberta. So, this was why McLennan and Nash came over as midseason replacement imports to the Cranes. Imports that come to play in Asia always arrive via the Asian-North American or Asian-European hockey pipelines.

    From an Ottawa Citizen article via tysonnash.com:

    “Five minutes before the games, the entire building is dead silent. No one says a word. Then we come on the ice and they go crazy. There are no anthems. We just bow to each side of the stands, then, after the game, we do it again. But the fans seem to really love the game.”

    McLennan says the level of hockey is surprisingly good, somewhere between the East Coast Hockey League and the American Hockey League. He doesn’t want to say what he’s getting paid, but I’m told it is in the neighborhood of $200,000 a year, and the team takes care of all his expenses.

    Anthems aren’t played for domestic matches, but that’s just a minor detail. Interesting that he notices this though.

    The comment about the level of play is valuable, as it is a good measuring stick (along with statistics). Though, AL probably shares the same lack of depth problem as NPB. The top players may be near AHL level (many Japanese players have succeeded in the ECHL), but the third and fourth line guys probably won’t even make an ECHL roster. The money’s interesting too, as it’s not public information. I heard somewhere that Prpic is getting about $300,000. This is better than what these players can earn in most of Europe (maybe except for Russia, and Switzerland?).

    “It has been a wild experience,” McLennan says from his hotel room in Sapporo, where he has just made 26 saves in a 5-1 Paper Cranes victory against the Oji Ice Hockey Team (That’s their real nickname by the way: “Ice Hockey Team.” Did they hold a “Name the Team” contest to come up with that? Why not the Oji Whiz? The Oji Simpsons? The Oji Wan-kenobis? Work with me, people.)

    Everyone seems to get this wrong, but “Nippon Paper” is the company and the team name is the “Cranes”. Though, the paper cranes wordplay may have been involved when deciding on the nickname. And Oji really needs to be called the Eagles. Heck, one of their uniforms already features the eagle mascot (their other more traditional uni is a Habs tribute bleu, blanc, et rouge).

    eagles

    oji_cranes

    From Jamie’s blog entry about the China road trip:

    Joel was a master of negotiation when it came to the market and we sat back and let him work his magic. By the end of the day, the locals were none too happy with us [mostly him] as we held out for bargain basement prices and were able to come away with a few souvenirs for ridiculously cheap prices.

    Hahaha, I never knew Joel was a shrewd negotiator. In fact, he’s one of the more quiet Japanese-Canadian guys on and off the ice, from what I can tell by going to games and his (lack of) media exposure.

    When it came to the games we won the first one and completely stunk the joint out the second one, I think the guys just took them too lightly the second game, but needless to say we lost the second game in the last minute. I did not play in either game because I hurt my hip flexor in the previous game, so I unfortunately just watched and toured the city. Overall though, a great experience.

    The Cranes only took 16 skaters to Beijing and McLennan was resting, so it’s obvious that the team took the Sharks way too lightly. I guess this could be one promising thing about the disastrous Sharks season, they’re not complete roll overs (even with just 3 wins in 30 games this season).

    Anyways, here’s the totally non-pimped up ride that Nash picked up for the two of them to drive around Kushiro. From McLennan’s blog entries, it seems like Nash is the rather pragmatic one in a foreign land.

    ride

    Good luck in the playoffs Jamie and Tyson! (Though they face Halla, and Korean teams advancing further in the playoffs makes Asian hockey as a whole more interesting too…)

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »