Realistic Asia League expansion team for 2009/10
Posted by simon c on 2008 November 10日 Monday
There have been rumours over the years about adding teams to the Asia League, anything from a Kazakhstani team to a third Korean team to the most recently floated idea by the China (and San Jose) Sharks brass about bringing back a second Chinese team (and my hope that Amur Khavarovsk will send one of its minor league teams to the AL).
But this time there is a serious financial backer with a seemingly realistic plan. Xebio’s capitalization and annual sales are both over $1 billion, which should be enough to sponsor a few million dollars a year budget of an AL team, but the company’s about 1/10th in capitalization when compared to Seibu, Oji, and Nippon Paper. I’ll translate the short article that appeared in the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper’s Doshin Sports daily.
Xebio has established an ice hockey team
8 November 10:14
Xebio Co., Ltd., a sporting equipment retailer, announced on 5 November 2008 that it has established a new ice hockey team with the aim of joining the Asia League Ice Hockey next season (Ed: 2009/10). Details will be revealed in upcoming press releases including one in Koriyama city (Ed: Fukushima prefecture).
The team will call the entire Tohoku (northeast) area of Japan as its home territory, and its training base will be in Hachinohe city, Aomori prefecture (Ed: the Tohoku hockey hotbed). The managing company Tohoku Ice Hockey Club has already been established with former Nikko IceBucks president and current Xebio employee Keisuke Araki as president. About 10 new student-athletes from various universities who will be graduating this upcoming spring have already accepted their offer to join the team.
Currently, the Asia League features 7 teams of which 4 are based in Japan including the Oji and Nippon Paper teams. According to the league agreement, adding expansion teams requires the consent of the league general assembly where the tentative club will be judged on criteria such as financial stability and its ability to ice a competitive team.
Original Japanese article after the break: