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    IHWC Div I 2008: Japan NT preparations

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 5日 Saturday

    The Japanese national team has been preparing to host the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I tournament at Sapporo in the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan. The games will run 13 – 19 April against Ukraine, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, and Croatia.Since the end of the Asia League season, the national team has been in training in Hokkaido and has recently played 2 practice matches against Amur of Khavarovsk (an RSL team, but no idea what kind of roster the team brought over, as the box scores only indicate uniform numbers and no names).

    Game 1 ended in a 4-4 tie. All goals were scored by the 34th minute in a flurry of a first half. One of the two remaining university players, standout defenseman Haga was used in the 2nd pairing with Aaron Keller. And High1 defenseman Okubo was used in the 4th pairing, but successfully quarterbacked the power play and assisted on 2 PPGs. Kikuchi (Seibu) allowed 4 goals, though the number of shots was not recorded.

    Japan eked out a 2-1 win in game 2 against an Amur squad that was fresher after a day of rest. Obara (Seibu) scored both goals on the power play this game, and combined with his 2 PP points (1G + 1A) in game 1 and has been playing great. Haruna (Oji) continued his hot play from the AL playoffs where he reeled off 9 straight victories (only allowing more than 2 goals in a single game), as he only let in 1 of the 19 shots he faced. Haruna has the hot hand and the original Japanese NHLer Fukufuji will be tied up in the ECHL playoffs with the Bakersfield Condors, so the Oji veteran should be the starting goalie in the upcoming tournament. AL’s top scorer in recent seasons Nishiwaki who is playing with the Dayton Bombers this season, and if his team loses in the first round of the playoffs (a best of 3 play in series), then he’ll be able to squeak into Sapporo for the start of the tournament.

    JIHL/ALIH and Japanese national team veteran Ryan Kiyoshi Fujita, who always plays way above his size, was nowhere to be seen over the Amur games although he’s listed on the long list of players in training camp. It’s unknown whether he was dropped because of injury, fitness, or team plans. 

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

    Information for visitors to Sapporo Tsukisamu Arena

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 March 21日 Friday

    Some information about the Tsukisamu Arena in Sapporo, Japan where the 2008 IIHF World Championship Division I Group B games will be held.

    Chances are your mobile phone won’t work in Japan because Japan uses a proprietory cell system. Even overseas 3G phones won’t work just by inserting Japanese SIM cards (though things may have changed recently, so check with your local carrier). Very inconvenient for visitors, I know.

    Tsukisamu Arena has a capacity of about 3000 (this year’s AL games drew close to 2900).

    Here are some pictures of the arena:

    tst1.jpg

    dsc00521.jpg

    I recommend staying in the Susukino area of Sapporo, as that’s where the nightlife is, and it’s only 4 metro stops away from the Tsukisamu-Chuo station where the arena is situated (a 3 minute walk) on the Toho metro line.

    map

    All weekday Japan games are scheduled at 8pm, so I expect a good crowd for those games (not sure about preordering tickets). But I don’t expect much of a crowd for the other games, as Sapporo’s not a hockey town (there are some nice mountains nearby, so skiing and snowboarding are more popular) and Japanese people tend not to take many holidays.

    For the Japan team preview, most of my Asia League summary is here already:
    https://jhockey.wordpress.com/category/hockey/asia-league-ice-hockey/

    If I have the time I’ll try to do a Team Japan preview once the roster’s announced.

    Posted in 02_English, culture, food, hockey, information, International, Japan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »