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  • Posts Tagged ‘sweden’

    Kazumasa Sasaki and the Japan U20 Team

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 30日 Sunday

    The JIHF announced their U20 team for the upcoming U20 Div II Group A tournament in Romania in mid-December against Korea, Serbia, Belgium, Lithuania, and hosts Romania.

    All but one of the players on the Japanese U20 team are first year university players. The lone exception is Kazumasa Sasaki who is an Asia League Oji Eagles player on a (probably) one year assignment in Swedish Division I with Östersund Hockey, and he is proving himself to be a useful player scoring 6+4=10 from the blueline in 16 games at the tender age of 18.

    Sasaki has yet to play a game for the strong Eagles side, but I expect him to be back with his Japanese team next season as this season in Sweden is probably all expenses paid training by Oji (similar situation to many Japanese players in the past, including Masahito Nishiwaki with the ECHL Dayton Bombers last season. Japanese players truly testing and developing their talents overseas at the pro level can sadly be counted on one hand… Yutaka Fukufuji and Kazuma Takahashi, both in the ECHL, and maybe CHL overager Takuma Kawai.) Only playing one season overseas almost seems like a waste of resources as the player just gets acclimatized to their new environment when they get called back to Japan, shame. But financial security of playing in Japan is just too comforting and secure to get more players to truly challenge themselves and develop overseas long term..

    kazumasa

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

    IIHF Top 100 Stories of the Century

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 18日 Sunday

    Ahead of the Centennial Ice Hockey World Championship final to be played later today, the 1980 Miracle on Ice was announced as the #1 story on their international hockey stories of the century list.

    The win didn’t change the landscape of the game right away. It was a shocking and unexpected victory, but more importantly, it inspired a generation of American kids to play the game. When USA won its next important international event, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, almost every player on that team pointed to the Miracle on Ice game as their inspiration for wanting to play hockey.

    In time, the win also assured the international community that America would be part of the top nations. In the 1976 Canada Cup, for instance, the roster was a who’s who of minor leaguers and collegians. Soon after 1980, that never happened again. 

    This game was and remains the greatest moment in international hockey because of its impact at the time and its continued impact over time. For 20 college players to defeat a team that trained year round and won virtually every game it played before and after truly is, in a sporting sense, a miracle. There is no other word for it. 

    That this miracle became something lasting and enduring makes it all the more significant. The greater miracle is that it took a nation with nothing more than a mild interest in the game and made it into a world powerhouse that can today beat any other great nation on any given day. There have been greater teams which have accomplished greater feats over greater periods of time in international hockey, but there is only one game, one team, one moment, that can truly be called a miracle. And nothing can outclass a miracle. Nothing.

    And the IIHF also announced the Centennial All-Star Team. The list is Soviet heavy with Tretiak, Fetisov, Salming, Kharlamov, Makarov, and Gretzky. Methinks the voters were weighed towards Europeans, but then again this is an All-Star team for international hockey, and the Soviets dominated international play, so maybe it’s right. It’s interesting that Gretzky’s contributions in the Canada Cup is counted considering it was not an IIHF sanctioned event. But then again, IIHF was not obtuse enough to ignore the great impact the Summit Series and the Canada Cups had on international hockey, even if they were not officially sanctioned events.

    The six members of the All-Star Team are:

    Goaltender: Vladislav Tretiak (Russia)
    First Defenceman: Vyacheslav Fetisov (Russia)
    Second Defenceman: Borje Salming (Sweden)
    First Winger: Valeri Kharlamov (Russia)
    Second Winger: Sergei Makarov (Russia)
    Centre: Wayne Gretzky (Canada)

    The panel comprised 56 ice hockey experts from 16 countries representing a balance between North American and European countries, and included people who have worked in the game for an extended period and whose opinions are universally respected. One of the 56 votes represented the collective opinion of the staff of The Hockey News.

    Tretiak received 30 votes, Fetisov 54, Salming 17, Kharlamov 21, Makarov 18, and Gretzky 38.

    Posted in 02_English, hockey, information, International, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Quarterfinals set for 2008 Worlds

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 14日 Wednesday

    The quarterfinals for the 2008 World Championship in Halifax and Quebec City has been set. With the disappointing performance (combined with the ineligible German player controversy) sent Slovakia down to a relegation series against Slovenia, which it won (France, with Huet being the difference maker, won the other relegation battle against Italy.)

    Quarterfinals on 14 May are:

    Czech Republic – Sweden

    Norway – Canada

    Russia – Switzerland

    USA – Finland

    The CZE-SWE and RUS-FIN matches will be great clashes of titans, and the Swiss are always strong and can easily give the talented Russian squad a run for its money. Canada has the easiest draw, but the team only won 2-1 over Norway thanks to a last minute Nash goal, so we’ll see if Grotnes can pull off the supergoalie gig yet again. 

    Some great quotes from the Norwegians  🙂

    Even getting this far is an amazing triumph for the Norwegian national hockey program, which operates on an annual budget of less than $1-million. Heatley alone operates on an annual budget 10 times that.

    It is a team that boasts a former NHL player, 32-year-old Anders Myrvold, who last played for the Detroit Red Wings in 2004, and a collection of European professionals, semi-pros and amateurs.

    But they have, Myrvold said, a secret weapon.

    “We have Viking blood,” he said. “You know Viking blood? It doesn’t exist in Canada.”

    The players are salesmen and teachers – one for kindergarten – but mostly they are in building trades, carpenters like Grotnes, electricians and plumbers.

    “If you need anything, just give us a call,” Myrvold said with a laugh. “You can’t call the Canadian team. All they can do is play hockey.”

    Hahaha.

    Surprisingly, attendance has been disappointing, especially in Halifax where all Canada games have been held so far.

    Posted in 02_English, hockey, information, International, opinion, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    IIHF Uniform Watch

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 10日 Saturday

    The great, the good, and the ugly

    Canada, of course, in a money grub move have new sweaters for this IIHF 100th anniversary tournament they’re hosting at home. Other teams all have the same Nike template uniforms, which are all boring except for a couple of them. Luckily, all teams wore throwback jerseys from various eras, and they were mostly good.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, culture, hockey, information, International, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Swedish Murray UberTap

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 9日 Friday

    When browsing through the latest news from the IIHF World Championships, this caption caught my eye “Sweden, here with Douglas Murray, steamrolls Denmark with Kasper Degn. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Matthew Manor” since there’s an older player with the same name who’s probably Canadian born and naturalized German playing in Germany.

    Turns out he’s pretty much all Swedish, but his father’s family immigrated to Sweden from Scotland in the 1730’s(!) now that’s old school.

    Plus, him and his friends invented the UberTap while in college to speed up beer pouring at keg parties, how cool is that.

    UberTap is a system that uses a foot pump to extract the liquid gold, and three spouts to fill the glasses.

    Imagine that. Three glasses being filled simultaneously.

    To borrow phrase sudsy connoisseurs know — brilliant.

    “It took too long to get beer in college. It’s about five times as fast to fill up,” Murray said. “Since I’ve been in the NHL, I haven’t been involved as much, my partner is running it. When I was in the minors, there was more time.”

    So much for the thought Murray was just another hulking defenceman.

    Actually, that tidbit is just the tip of the iceberg with him.

    He’s actually Swedish — his father’s family came from Scotland in the 1730s, so that explains the Anglicized names. His brothers are named Ted, Charles and his sister is Roseanna.

    “All my relatives and cousins have Swedish names, but my parents wanted their kids to have English names, which is different when you live back in Sweden,” Murray said.

    “But when you live over here, nobody believes you’re Swedish.”

    Murray left home to play junior and high school hockey in New York state, living with relatives on Long Island, because he figured it would be a fun experience for one year.

    Instead of returning home, he received a scholarship at Cornell, and became a two-time first-team all-American and team captain. He’s also rung the bell at the New York Mercantile Exchange in the summer of 2006.

    Posted in 02_English, culture, hockey, information, International, random | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »