Posted by simon c 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).
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: aomori, bundesliga, canada, chuo, eagles, free blades, fukushima, germany, hachinohe, koriyama, Oji, prince rabbits, seibu, tohoku, university | 1 Comment »
Posted by simon c on 2009 April 29日 Wednesday
The upstart ALIH team Tohoku Free Blades will be hosting promotional events in Fukushima and Sendai (two of their 3 home towns) on 3 and 5 May, the latter being Boy’s Day, a national holiday.
2009/Fukushima Airport YOU/YOUR Festival
[Event] 2009/Fukushima Airport YOU/YOUR Festival
[Date] 3 May (Sun) 9:00~16:00
[Location] Fukushima Airport
[Details] Take your shots event, autograph session
[Participating players] #9 Takuya Nakamura, #18 Kota Tanaka, #19 Kosuke Takahashi
Ice Rink Sendai Golden Week Special Event
[Date] 5 May (Tue) 13:00~14:00
[Location] Ice Rink Sendai
[Details] Ice hockey shooting demo, skating class, autograph session
[Participating players] #8 Shuji Kikuchi, #16 Jeffrey Koichi Honma, #21 Kazuki Yamamoto, #41 Yujiro Kasahara
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, Japan, press releases | Tagged: boy's day, children's day, free blades, fukushima, golden week, miyagi, sendai, tohoku | Leave a Comment »
Posted by simon c on 2009 April 14日 Tuesday
The Tohoku Free Blades have been tentatively accepted into Asia League Ice Hockey starting with the upcoming 2009-10 season!
The Blades currently only have 12 skaters and 2 goalies on contract, but now they can start their work in earnest to strengthen the team by signing more experienced players (probably some former Seibu Prince Rabbits) and imports, now that they’re more or less officially part of the AL. This is great news for hockey in the Tohoku area (north eastern part of the main Honshu island). The timing is great as most seasons in hockey playing countries are starting to wind down, and players and coaches will be looking for employment for next season. The plan is to play 8~10 games in Hachinohe, Aomori, and other games in the Tohoku area such as Koriyama, Fukushima where the team will be based.
Edit: The team is expected to operate on an annual budget of 150 million yen = $1.5m (much closer to the Nikko Ice Bucks budget than the Seibu Prince Rabbits’ 500 million yen = $5m), and is going to work to draw an average attendance of 1,500 per game.
Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion, press releases | Tagged: aomori, free blades, fukushima, hachinohe, Ice Bucks, koriyama, nikko, prince rabbits, seibu, tohoku | 3 Comments »
Posted by simon c on 2009 April 7日 Tuesday
On 5 April, the Tohoku Free Blades hosted last season’s Asia League champions Oji Eagles in the Xebio (Blades’ parent company) Charity Festival exhibition match at Bandai-Atami Ice Arena in Fukushima (north east Japan) where the Blades are planning on playing some home games in the upcoming (hopefully Asia League) season.
Tohoku Free Blades 0 (0-1, 0-0, 0-2) 3 Oji Eagles
6:15 Oji Okuyama (Suzuki, Ishizuka) EQ
35:21 Oji Okuyama (Suzuki) +1
40:20 Oji Okuyama (Suzuki) EQ
The Blades still only have 12 skaters, so Oji also only iced 12 players, and some of them didn’t get much playing time during the past season, like the game’s hat trick star Okuyama, who only played 2 games this past season. The game featured 15 minute periods, and Oji outshot the Blades 35-24.
Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, Japan, opinion | Tagged: eagles, free blades, fukushima, Oji, tohoku, xebio | Leave a Comment »
Posted by simon c on 2008 November 14日 Friday
Official press conference for the perspective Asia League franchise was announced on 12 November in Koriyama (Fukushima, the team’s headquarters), Hachinohe (Aoyama, the team’s training base), and Sendai (Miyagi, the largetst city in the Tohoku area). The team’s name is the Tohoku Free Blades, incorporating the meaning of free and sharp newcomer in the league that will cut through the old bureaucracy (not sure how realistic this is.)
The team was established in Xebio as part of its subsidiary, so it’s another industrial team insted of a club team. The Blades already have 12-13 players under contract, and are planning of adding about 10 players who are new graduates this spring from various university teams, and also through some tryout sessions (open to foreigners, though all players bear all costs during the tryout) in December 10-11. It will definitely be a young team, and if it is approved to join the AL in the April meeting, I expect them to be compete with the Bucks and Sharks for the last playoff spot.
The team intends on drawing talent from the hockey rich Tohoku area eventually, but is mainly compoased of players from hockey hotbed Hokkaido for now. The Blades will host games in Koriyama and Hachinohe, but will also host games in Morioka and Mitsuzawa also in Aomori.
This is wonderful news for Japanese and Asian hockey which has been constant decline in the number of teams. Hopefully the Blades will be granted the permission to join the Asia League next season, they certainly seem keen enough.
Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion, press releases | Tagged: aomori, expansion, free blades, fukushima, hachinohe, koriyama, mitsuzawa, miyagi, morioka, sendai, tohoku | 1 Comment »