Seibu Prince Rabbits on the Globe
Posted by simon c on 2009 April 3日 Friday
The Asia League Ice Hockey powerhouse Seibu Prince Rabbits folding even made the news in the Globe and Mail (via AP), the Canadian (or Toronto) newspaper.
TOKYO — The Seibu Prince Rabbits, a Japanese hockey team with a 37-year history, is the latest casualty of Japan’s economic crises.
The Rabbits were disbanded Tuesday after the club’s parent company, Prince Hotels Inc., was unable to find a new owner.
Since announcing its withdrawal from the sport in December, the Seibu group held talks with more than 20 companies seeking a buyer for the team but found no takers.
“I think they could have done more,” Chris Wakabayashi, the team’s Canadian-born coach said Wednesday. “They tried to negotiate with companies to take over the whole team and that’s tough to do in this climate. It seems to me there was no Plan B and I think they just wanted to get out of the sport.”
Annual costs of running the team were estimated at $5.1-million (U.S.), while the average attendance for games was just 1,000.
The decision leaves Seibu’s players out of a job. Wakabayashi said about 12 or 15 players on the 30-man roster have a chance of finding a place on other teams in Asia or Europe.
The Rabbits roster includes Richard Rochefort of North Bay, Ont., and Joel Prpic of Sudbury, Ont.
What’s surprising is that there were over 20 companies who were in talks (who knows how deep, though probably not very) to take over the team.
Here’s an official statement from the Asia League chairman, it’s good to know that the league is forward thinking about accepting new teams (ie. Tohoku Free Blades.)