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  • Posts Tagged ‘kushiro’

    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.)

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

    Asia League Update

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 July 4日 Saturday

    Asia League Ice Hockey office has announced the tentative 2009-10 season schedule (pending Tohoku Free Blades approval into the league in the September general counsel, which seems backwards). The Blades basically take the place of the now defunct Seibu Prince Rabbits, and the league will operate just like last year with 4 Japanese teams, 2 Korean teams, and 1 Chinese team as a 7 team league. The teams will play 6 games against each other for a 36 game regular season that opens on 19 September in Korea and Hokkaido.

    Due to (cost cutting? and) to avoid clashing with the Vancouver Olympics, the playoffs have been shortened from 2008-09 and will only feature 4 teams playing two rounds of best of 5 series to determine the champion (last season included a best of 3 play-in round between 4th and 5th place teams, then best of 7 series).

    The expansion Tohoku Free Blades will open the season against the defending champion Nippon Paper Cranes in Kushiro. And the Greater Tokyo area will host a few games as the four Japanese teams will play doubleheaders in Shin-Yokohama on 14-15 November, in Sapporo on 19-20 December, and in Nishi-Tokyo (Higashifushimi) on 6-7 February.

    The Tohoku Free Blades will play half its home games at the Tohoku hockey hotbed of Hachinohe, Aomori, and will play the rest of the games in various cities around Tohoku including Koriyama, Fukushima.

    In addition to the officially announced player transfers, China Sharks have acquired tall scoring pest Joel Prpic (Seibu 35GP 43P 174PIM, he managed to score and draw a penalty simultaneously twice in one game I went to see) and Bin Ishioka (Seibu 36GP 8G+10A=18P). Though this alone won’t keep the Sharks up with the newly powerful Bucks, it is a step in the right direction (Prpic is a Japan/Asia vet that knows the league well with a long and successful career, and Ishioka won’t count as an import because Japan/Korea/China nationals do not count against imports in this league). (Thanks Martin!)

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

    Jamie McLennan and Tyson Nash with the Nippon Paper Cranes

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 February 15日 Friday

    So, ex-NHLers Jamie McLennan and Tyson Nash, who are good friends, joined the Nippon Paper Cranes of the AL. For Jamie to finish off his career in an interesting land halfway around the world, for both of them to experience Japan and East Asia, for the different culture and hockey style and hopefully bring back the AL championship trophy to Kushiro again.

    McLennan has been very solid in the regular season since joining the team halfway through the season. Posting 92.05 Save % (good enough for 1st in the league among goalies who faced over 100 shots) and 2.50 GAA in 14 games (it’s a 30 game regular season, but there’s also an open FA Cup style knockoff championship, and national team players compete in international tournaments during IIHF international breaks. And of course, there’s the playoffs too, so the season’s longer than 30 games, much longer for some players, though nowhere near the unnecessarily grueling 100 game NHL schedule if you count the playoffs.) Tyson Nash injured his knee right away, so he only got into 5 games and scored 1 goal and 16 PIM while still getting accustomed to the less physical play of the league.

    mclennan

    nash

    These two are a definite improvement upon the cheap imports that the Cranes started the season with (perhaps being perennial champions or finalists made them overconfident?) and can definitely be a force in the upcoming playoffs which follow the disappointing regular season by the Cranes.

    What I didn’t know was that both Jamie and Tyson have online presence (I guess this shouldn’t be such a surprise these days) and are chronicling their journey through Japan and Asian hockey. These two guys seem easy going, if not a little too rambunctious for the ordinarily reserved Japanese (when not drunk), but it looks like they’re fully enjoying their life in countryside Hokkaido. And this provides a nice contrast to the infamous Ballads of Jason Johnson, a pro baseball player. Perhaps “hockey players are the most down to earth big money pro athletes” isn’t just Canadian propaganda 😛 After all, McLennan, Nash, and Johnson were never star players in the big leagues.

    Some interesting snippets of Jamie’s blog (some to The Hockey News no less) and other articles.

    From his first article to THN:

    I was going to retire this summer and pursue other interests in hockey when I received offers in Europe and Russia. I took an offer in Russia and was there for six weeks when I decided that it wasn’t for me and we parted ways (another long story but not for this article).

    Taking some time off was what I was doing when I was approached by my best buddy from growing up, Joel Dyck, who has been playing in Japan for 14 years and he told me I should come and play with him on his team to have a little fun and finish our careers together.

    So, Jamie was in Russia but things didn’t work out for him there (can’t find his Russian stats at eurohockey.net).

    And he’s long time friends with Japan and Asia League veteran and erstwhile Japanese national team player Joel Oshiro Dyck (he’s part Japanese descent who obtained Japanese passport a while back) from their junior days in Alberta. So, this was why McLennan and Nash came over as midseason replacement imports to the Cranes. Imports that come to play in Asia always arrive via the Asian-North American or Asian-European hockey pipelines.

    From an Ottawa Citizen article via tysonnash.com:

    “Five minutes before the games, the entire building is dead silent. No one says a word. Then we come on the ice and they go crazy. There are no anthems. We just bow to each side of the stands, then, after the game, we do it again. But the fans seem to really love the game.”

    McLennan says the level of hockey is surprisingly good, somewhere between the East Coast Hockey League and the American Hockey League. He doesn’t want to say what he’s getting paid, but I’m told it is in the neighborhood of $200,000 a year, and the team takes care of all his expenses.

    Anthems aren’t played for domestic matches, but that’s just a minor detail. Interesting that he notices this though.

    The comment about the level of play is valuable, as it is a good measuring stick (along with statistics). Though, AL probably shares the same lack of depth problem as NPB. The top players may be near AHL level (many Japanese players have succeeded in the ECHL), but the third and fourth line guys probably won’t even make an ECHL roster. The money’s interesting too, as it’s not public information. I heard somewhere that Prpic is getting about $300,000. This is better than what these players can earn in most of Europe (maybe except for Russia, and Switzerland?).

    “It has been a wild experience,” McLennan says from his hotel room in Sapporo, where he has just made 26 saves in a 5-1 Paper Cranes victory against the Oji Ice Hockey Team (That’s their real nickname by the way: “Ice Hockey Team.” Did they hold a “Name the Team” contest to come up with that? Why not the Oji Whiz? The Oji Simpsons? The Oji Wan-kenobis? Work with me, people.)

    Everyone seems to get this wrong, but “Nippon Paper” is the company and the team name is the “Cranes”. Though, the paper cranes wordplay may have been involved when deciding on the nickname. And Oji really needs to be called the Eagles. Heck, one of their uniforms already features the eagle mascot (their other more traditional uni is a Habs tribute bleu, blanc, et rouge).

    eagles

    oji_cranes

    From Jamie’s blog entry about the China road trip:

    Joel was a master of negotiation when it came to the market and we sat back and let him work his magic. By the end of the day, the locals were none too happy with us [mostly him] as we held out for bargain basement prices and were able to come away with a few souvenirs for ridiculously cheap prices.

    Hahaha, I never knew Joel was a shrewd negotiator. In fact, he’s one of the more quiet Japanese-Canadian guys on and off the ice, from what I can tell by going to games and his (lack of) media exposure.

    When it came to the games we won the first one and completely stunk the joint out the second one, I think the guys just took them too lightly the second game, but needless to say we lost the second game in the last minute. I did not play in either game because I hurt my hip flexor in the previous game, so I unfortunately just watched and toured the city. Overall though, a great experience.

    The Cranes only took 16 skaters to Beijing and McLennan was resting, so it’s obvious that the team took the Sharks way too lightly. I guess this could be one promising thing about the disastrous Sharks season, they’re not complete roll overs (even with just 3 wins in 30 games this season).

    Anyways, here’s the totally non-pimped up ride that Nash picked up for the two of them to drive around Kushiro. From McLennan’s blog entries, it seems like Nash is the rather pragmatic one in a foreign land.

    ride

    Good luck in the playoffs Jamie and Tyson! (Though they face Halla, and Korean teams advancing further in the playoffs makes Asian hockey as a whole more interesting too…)

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

    JIHF Press Release: Seibu wins 2008 All Japan Ice Hockey Championship

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 February 13日 Wednesday

    The 75th edition of the All Japan Ice Hockey Championship final tournament was held in Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan from 4 – 10 February, 2008.

    In the final, Seibu beat the Nippon Paper Cranes 5-3 to win its first All Japan Championship since 2004 when the team was still called Kokudo.

    Oji Paper won the bronze medal game 4-1 over the Nikko.

     

    Final standings:

    Gold: Seibu Prince Rabbits

    Silver: Nippon Paper Cranes

    Bronze: Oji Ice Hockey Club

    4th: HC Nikko IceBucks

    Tournament MVP: Obara Daisuke (Seibu Prince Rabbits)

     

    (The All Japan Championship is an open tournament, similar to the FA Cup, with regional qualifiers for club teams, university teams, and high school teams. Asia League teams, the elite teams in Japan by far, enter the tournament in the quarterfinals.)

     

    In the quarterfinals, AL teams won all their games, as expected, but Waseda University put up a valiant effort against the Cranes who have not been playing like a defending treble winner (2007 AL Regular Season, Playoffs, and All Japan Championships), Waseda only lost by 1 goal with the final score being 3-2 in favour of the Cranes. Other quarterfinal results were Nikko IceBucks 7 – 2 Toyo University, Oji Paper 10 – 0 Chuo University, Seibu Prince Rabbits 12 – 0 Toyota Centuries (Hokkaido club team).

    http://www.jihf.or.jp/jihf/data/schedule.php?id=127 (Tournament results in Japanese)

    Original article (Japanese):

    http://www.jihf.or.jp/jihf/news/news.php?id=1055

    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, JIHF, press releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »