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    Asia League Ice Hockey related

    China Dragon are official

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 September 3日 Thursday

    Yes, it sounds like  a Chinese restaurant, but the Chinese entry in the Asia League has cut off its affliation with the NHL San Jose Sharks after one season, and now will be known as the China Dragon and will split their home games between Harbin and Shanghai (It’s good to see elite hockey back in Harbin on one hand, but this’ll lessen the impact in Shanghai, too bad China can only put together one viable AL squad.) The team is currently training in Harbin, and only has one import, the super veteran 42-year old Igor Andryushchenko who was instrumental in the Belarussian Junost Minsk winning the 2007 European Continental Cup (one level below the European Champions League or its equivalent) along with his then teammate and now China Dragon coach Andrei Kovalev.

    The Dragon plan on adding 2 or 3 more imports but they do not intend on maximizing the 7 import slots that they have in order to grow domestic talent. But they will be hard pressed to avoid being a doormat team again without an elite goalie like they had with Wade Flaherty last season. Imports are expected to be Belarussian and Kazakhstani. Though the coach or the Belarussian media still think that the now defunct Seibu Prince Rabbits are the team to beat in the league, so accurate information seems to be hard to come by. Unless the Dragon get an elite goalie, with the traditionally sieve defence of the Chinese, it’ll be a long season, especially with the highly bolstered Bucks lineup to contend with, and the Blades may be no pushovers either.

    Anyways, it’ll be yet another interesting season coming up in the ever changing Asia League.

    The Chinese hockey federation (government) is apparently saving money by going the Belaruss route instead of American, but I thought the Sharks provided coaching and players for almost free last season, but I might be wrong, and the economic downturn doesn’t help. This is mostly speculation.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Halla – High1 season opener moved up

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 September 1日 Tuesday

    The season opening 2 game series at Anyang between Halla and High1 on 19 and 20 September has been moved up to 15:00 for live television broadcast purposes. So, if anyone’s attending the season opener, please be aware, and have fun!

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    China Dragon?

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 August 31日 Monday

    It’s almost certain that the San Jose Sharks have pulled out of their venture in China with the China Sharks, the only Chinese entry in the Asia Legue. First, in a recent IIHF article, it was announced that China has hired Belarussian Andrei Kovalev to coach both the national team and the Chinese Asia League team (doesn’t say Sharks).

    China hired former Belarusian national player Andrei Kovalev as its new head coach. He signed a contract through April 2010.

    The 43-year-old has plenty of international experience as a player. Kovalev played in eight World Championships and two Olympics with Belarus. He also won U20 gold with the Soviets. He played for Dynamo Minsk and Dynamo Moscow in the Russian and Soviet league before a two-year stint in North America in the AHL and other minor leagues, and 13 years in Germany. He ended his playing career in 2007 with Yunost Minsk.

    After retiring, he worked with Yunost before becoming the assistant coach of HK Vitebsk.

    Kovalev will be assisted by Chinese coaches and he will also be the head coach of the Chinese team in the Asian League. The club is located in a new 8,000-seat arena in Shanghai and it’s the strongest club team in the country.

    Then in the Blades-Bucks preseason games over the weekend, apparently people were given pamphlets for the upcoming Asia League season with a team named “China Dragon”.

    Removal of Sharks personnel (especially coach) from the Chinese team, and the addition of Kovalev definitely indicates a change in direction away from the Sharks, but with the China team’s opening game quickly approaching on 24 September, they’ll have to get their act together in a hurry. And it looks like yet another year where top level Chinese hockey is changing directions with no clear long term plan.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, International, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

    Blades – Bucks preseason results

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 August 30日 Sunday

    The new AL team Tohoku Free Blades faced off against the bolstered Nikko Ice Bucks over the weekend for two preseason games. These two games were the Blades first official games (their games up to now had been against understrengthed squads, non-AL teams or not full 3×20 games).

    29 August 2009

    Nikko Ice Bucks 4 (0-1, 2-0, 2-1) 2 Tohoku Free Blades

    SOG: 43 – 12

    Attendance: 872

    30 August 2009

    Nikko Ice Bucks 4 (1-0, 2-0, 1-1) 1 Tohoku Free Blades

    SOG: 30 – 16

    Attendance: 882

    The word is that Steve Munn and Jon Smyth were solid for the Blades, Bin Ishioka scored both goals in game 1, Michio Hashimoto kept the team in the game despite being vastly outshot in the first game, and the team was less tense in the second game and played a more overall solid game despite the untelling scoreline.

    Goalies in game 1 were starters and former Buck Michio Hashimoto for the Blades and national team goalie Naoya Kikuchi for the Bucks, backup goalies played in game 2 for both teams.

    Images from game 1 via Freeblades.jp

    006

    010

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    More images and game report here.

    On another note, national team defenceman and former Seibu Prince Rabbit Ryuichi Kawai and his younger brother and first Japanese player to appear in the Memorial Cup Takuma Kawai are in a small town near Lethbridge, Alberta at staying at Kiyoshi Ryan Fujita’s house and training. Not sure what they’re aim is but maybe they’re looking for some tryouts in the North American minor leagues.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    チャイナ・シャークス?

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 August 28日 Friday

    シャークス行きだったはずの元西武の石岡敏が結局東北フリーブレイズと契約しました。

    そしてシャークスの公式HPでもアジアリーグの公式HPでも全く音沙汰が無い。2ちゃんではサンノゼ・シャークスとの提携が終わっていて、今シーズンはアジアリーグ不参加との噂も…真相はいかに?

    でもIIHFのニュース記事では、中国代表とチャイナ・シャークスの新ヘッドコーチは、国際経験豊富なベラルーシ人のAndrei Kovalev 氏に決定したそうだとか。てか、ベラルーシ人を新ヘッドとして採用してる時点で、もうなんかサンノゼとは離れていってる感じもする。

    Posted in 01_日本語, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Free Blades roster set!

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 August 22日 Saturday

    The new entry into the Asia League for the upcoming 2009-10 season, the Tohoku Free Blades, have finally signed enough players to form a complete roster. The new players should significantly improve the team and hopefully not make them a yearlong doormat in their expansion season (since the China Sharks don’t have Wade Flaherty anymore, there’s hope).

    New players:

    F Akiyumi Okuyama 31GP 1G+1A=2P (Oji)

    F Masahito Suzuki 34GP 4+11=15 (Oji)

    F Bin Ishioka 36GP 8+10=18 (Seibu) – Bin’s move to China turned out to be just an unconfirmed rumour

    D Kazumoto Imajo (Chuo University captain – was supposed to join the now defunct Seibu Prince Rabbits)

    D Steve Munn (AHL/ECHL)

    D Brad Farynuk (AHL/ECHL)

    LW Bruce Mulherin (EIHL/ECHL)

    LW Jon Smyth (Bundesliga 2nd Division)

    All 4 imports are Canadian.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, ECHL, hockey, information, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    High1 2009-10

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 August 17日 Monday

    High1 has announced their new additions to the team for the 2009-10 season. The team has kept one import in Alex Kim (15G+21A=36P, 13th in the league) but has made a wholesale change on the rest of their import lineup.

    Returning to the team after a season in Europe is Tim Smith, he rocked the league with his brother Bud for 2 seasons from 2006-08 (63GP 106P). Joining Tim as the new imports are veteran centre Trevor Gallant and young defenceman Jeremy Van Hoof.

    The team is also undergoing a major uphaul with many veterans leaving the team and 5 Korean rookies entering the fray. Also joining the club are stranded Seibu Prince Rabbits defenceman Yuya Yamada (25GP 3A) and rookie forward Hiroki Ueno (24GP 16+14=30 at Waseda University) who had signed on to play for Seibu but had the misfortune of the team folding before he ever wore their sweater.

    It’ll be intersting to see how this new, younger version of High1 will fare in the upcoming season, though with top dog Seibu gone, the team should see its fortunes improve from the 5th place finish (13-4-19) and first round elimination from the playoffs it suffered this season.

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

    The Cranes lone import

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 August 14日 Friday

    The Nippon Paper Cranes will attempt to defend their Asia League title with only one import player, as the team has signed defenceman Pierre-Olivier Beaulieu as their lone import for the upcoming 2009-10 campaign.

    Beaulieu

    Beaulieu is a big defenceman at 195cm 97kg and had success in the ECHL and the 2nd division of German Bundesliga. But the production of Brad Tiley (D, 36GP 25P) and Kelly Fairchild (F, 20GP 23P), who were both NHL veterans, will be missed (though the team is stacked with great Asia Leaguers including Japanese-Canadians). Will the younger (and supposedly cheaper) Beaulieu be productive enough for the Cranes to defend their title, or will going cheap and young on their import cost the Cranes the title again? (In the 2007-08 season, the Cranes replaced their ineffective cheap imports with NHL vets Jamie McLennan and Tyson Nash midseason.)

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, ECHL, hockey, information, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    アイスバックス対フリーブレイズ・プレシーズンゲーム

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 August 11日 Tuesday

    対戦カード:日光アイスバックス VS 東北フリーブレイズ

    日時:2009年8月29日(土) 14:00~
    8月30日(日) 14:00~

    場所:栃木県立日光霧降アイスアリーナ

    観戦料:指定席1,500円/自由席1,000円

    ※大人・子供も同料金となります

    前売取扱所:H.C.TOCHIGI日光アイスバックス事務所(http://www.icebucks.jp/)
    栃木県日光市稲荷町2-360-9
    電話0288-53-5166

    主催:(株)スポニチプライム/H.C.TOCHIGI日光アイスバックス

    Preseason games between the Nikko Ice Bucks and Tohoku Free Blades will be held in Nikko on 29-30 (Sat-Sun) of August, faceoff at 14:00, tickets are 1500 yen for reserved seats, 1000 yen for general admission.

    Posted in 01_日本語, 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, Japan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Preseason Hokkaido Derby

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 August 6日 Thursday

    Defending Asia League champions Nippon Paper Cranes will face off against the Oji Eagles for two preseason games at the beginning of September. Free admission for both games.

    3 Sept (Thu) 18:30 faceoff

    4 Sept (Fri) 10:30 faceoff

    Both games are held at the Oji Skate Center and which is located a mere 4 minute walk from JR Tomakomai station on Oji Street.

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