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    Weekend hockey update

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 9日 Monday

    The new team Tohoku Free Blades who are aiming to join the Asia League starting next season played another exhibition game recently. The team is still undermanned and its 5 defencemen and 7 forwards hung on but lost 6-4 to western Japan powerhouse amateur team Surpass Kagawa. Once the team’s status on joining the Asia League becomes clear, the team is likely to sign the rest of the players to fill out its roster (some imports will be needed to be competitive in the AL).

    Eri Kiribuchi’s dad made the trip from Prague to be at Harbin for the Universiad where Eri made her debut with the Japanese national team. He has uploaded a bunch of video segments to Youtube. They’re not just Japan-centric, but Eri-centric as the camera never leaves the goalie  😛

    And last but not least, the Nippon Paper Cranes pulled the rug from under Anyang Halla’s feet. The Cranes were down 3-2 in the semifinals with the series heading back to Anyang, Korea with Halla only needing to win one game to become the first non-Japanese team to advance to the Asia League finals. But the Cranes managed a gutsy OT win in game 6, followed by another 3-2 win in game 7, this time in regulation time.

    The Cranes will meet the Seibu Prince Rabbits in the finals which will begin on the 13th with games 1 and 2 in Higashifushimi, Tokyo at the Dydo Drinco Arena (Higashifushimi Station on the Seibu-Shinjuku train line). Game 1 on Friday should start at 7pm and game 2 on Saturday at 2pm.  Games 3 through 5 will be in Kushiro, Hokkaido. And game 6 will be on the afternoon of Sunday 22 March, and game 7 on the following evening if necessary. The Rabbits are looking to go out on top as the team won the All-Japan Championship tournament earlier in the year, and the club will fold after this season if no buyer is found (and in this economy, it looks unlikely. Luckily it looks like the Blades will replace the Rabbits in the league.)

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

    Blades and Bucks update

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 2日 Monday

    The Tohoku Free Blades played an exhibition match against the last place Asia League team Nikko Ice Bucks on 28 Feb during the Ice Bucks Fan Appreciation Day. The game was 3 periods of 15 minutes each, and the Bucks won easily 8-3. But the real news was that the Free Blades only had 15 players dressed. 2 goalies, 6 defencemen, and 7 forwards. I assume that the Blades are going to sign the rest of the players during the off season, depending on whether they’re accepted into the Asia League or not (decision on signing imports and their number depends on this). 

    Bucks in black and Blades in grey, not sure if the Blades uniforms are just practice unis or the real thing:

    blades1

    blades2

    Also a note of concern was that the Bucks were only able to draw 572 fans to the exhibition match despite it only costing 1000 yen and the event being held on a Saturday. Then Bucks supporters club used to have over 4000 members, but is now hovering around 1000 members. I pray that the Bucks survive (currently they’re carrying more than 100 million yen = $1m in debt on an operating budget of about 250 million yen per year) and that the Blades join the Asia League now that Seibu Prince Rabbits are folding (the best option here would be another company buying the team or it becoming a club team, but this is very unlikely in the current economic climate).

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