Tournaments - Events
Canadians Bring Home the Kimchee Pot
July 2, 2006 - Seoul, Korea
The Tokyo Canadians took the the road for the weekend of June 28-July 2 with something to prove - to the Seoul Geckos (winners of three straight Kimchee Pots), to the Rocky Mountain Tavern Chiefs (strong team consisting of former Geckos and owners of the best sportsbar in Seoul), to the various government personnel with personal interest in the Kimchee Pot (Canadian Ambassador to Korea and the Mayor of Incheon), and finally to the Canadians themselves, both those that made the trip, and those that stayed behind in Tokyo but rooted for the team all the same...
Canadians 7 - Samurai 0
The Canadians opened the tourney Thursday with a hard-fought game against the Tokyo Samurai. The game saw the Canadians start fast and finished strong, skating to a 7-0 victory behind a hat-trick by centerman Mike Slaton and strong goaltending by Chris Antonelli. All three lines figured in the outcome, with the signature moment a converted 2-1 by Patrick Morris on a bullet snapshot that rattled both the crossbar and glove-side post before settling in the back of the net. While the victory was just the way the Canadians had hoped to start the tournament, the team experienced what was to be the first in a long series of adversity. Following a close off-side call, veteran tough guy Joji Hiratsuka fired a snapshop on the Samurai goalie, resulting in a ten-minute misconduct. Without their offensive stalwart on the second line, the Canadians would get some well-needed practice on shuffling guys in and out of roles. Additional adveristy delivered itself in the form of a broken skate blade for Slaton, who would use a borrowed left skate from one of the Geckos players to get through the game. Beating adversity would be a sign of things to come for this group...
Canadians 5 - RMT Chiefs 2
In the Friday morning game the Canadians faced off agains the RMT Chiefs - their usual friends and occasional foes. The Canadians started off slow, with RMT taking an early 1-0 lead. Despite the slow start, the Canadians came back with a vengeance. Stu Kimoto took charge of the game, diving to bury a back-door goal on a beautiful feed by Kodi Kodrowski that had the fans on their feet. Kimoto again showed he was in charge, setting up Slaton for two late goals, including a perfectly timed breakout pass that saw Slaton cross the blueline and fire, with the puck crossing the goal line a split second before the horn blew to end the period.
The Canadians continued their goon ways (started with Hiratsuka firing the puck on a helpless Samurai goalie after the whistle), with Slaton picking up a misconduct for picking up a broken stick from the ice surface and setting it into the Canadians bench. After the Canadians yelled and screamed about the curious call for 5 minutes, the referee changed his mind and reduced the penalty to a 2 minute minor. Fortunately for the Canadians, the referee, thinking he had issued a 10 minute misconduct, had already allowed the Canadians to kill the entire penalty skating 5 on 5. Regardless, the point was made --- these Canadians will do anything in their power to win...
While the Chiefs battled back viciously, other Canadians stepped up. RopponGuy Roberge converted what would be the first of his several well timed, deciding goals. Additionally, RopponGuy robbed the Chiefs of any momentum they were gaining when he dove to block a slapshot on a Chiefs powerplay, sending the puck into the neutral zone and ending the Chief's chances. Defensemen Jimmer Heather, Mike Doris, and Kenny Takagi ensured that no Chief's player could sustain pressure in front of the net, while Rock Voisine consistently carried the puck up ice and led the Canadians attack - often resulting in goals for the boys in Red. With the victory, the Canadians assured themselves of the number one seed in their division going into the playoffs. What the Canadians did not do, however, was prepare themselves for the final divisional battle in the tournament, a hard fought game against longtime nemesis, the Seoul Geckos.
Geckos Ogilthorpes 5 - Canadians 1
In a sign of the times, young Kev the Kid Holt stepped into the Canadians locker room prior to the showdown with Geckos, and sniffing to identify the dense smell of Icy Hot mixed with sweat, asked the boys, "What's that smell?" With a laugh, Hiratsuka replied, "that's the smell of an aging hockey team," as he applied Icy Hot to his own wounded knee.
The final divisional game agains the Geckos saw the Canadians come out as flat as ever. While the boys played hard and tried to fight through it, the Geckos got on the board early and often. Goalie Chris Antonelli, battling a pulled groin sustained in the morning victory against the Chiefs, played spectacularly, however the lack of defensive support from the forwards left both Antonelli and a hurting defensive line (pulled groin on Heather, strained back on Mike Doris) helpless against the barrage. In a last ditch effort to turn the momentum, the Canadians began to crash the net and stir up trouble. At yet another team-building moment, the line of Kodrowski, Kimoto, and Slaton dug for a loose puck underneath the Korean goalie, when the whistle blew to end the rally. When the whistle blew, Geckos veteran tough guy Jordan Shaw took a swing at the tired Canadians in front of the Geckos net, connecting cleanly on Slaton. Slaton and Shaw exchanged shots 2-3 times, when Canadians teammates Kodrowski and Kimoto swung to even the battle. Displaying his renowned team-first mentality, Rock Voisine skated in from the blueline to engage Shaw, initiating the battle with a cry of "pick on someone your own size." While the game was lost, the Canadians had grown together as a team. The locker room attitude was good despite the loss, with veteran leaders Joji Hiratsuka, Stu Kimoto, and Jimmer Heather diverting the team's attention from the loss into a focus on the forthcoming playoff against the scrappy group from Mongolia (who would surely come out looking for revenge after the Canadians beat them on their home ice to take home the Ulaanbaatar Cup in January).
Quarterfinals: Canadians 7 - Mongolia 1
The Canadians faced off against Ulaanbaatar Cup finalist Mongolia in the quarterfinal match-up. The game saw significant contributions from several Canadians players, including RopponGuy, who took to the ice sans his signature football-type shoulder pads and subsequently buried a few goals, Kev the Kid Holt, who found the back of the net for his second career goal, and Mike Doris, who continued to let fly the booming shot that saw him take part in the Kuala Lumpur hardest shot competition (perhaps some extra velocity present in his shot due to anger as a result of his missing stick bag, which appeared to have been stolen prior to the game). While the outcome was never in doubt, the boys fought hard, and began what would be a critical part of the stretch drive, as several players shuffled through different lines to cover for injured teammates. The CAT was again strong in net, and Bobby Chung emerged as the bench coordinator between shifts in which he and linemates Chawanya, Holt, and Morris dominated the puck deep in the Mongol end.
Veteran speedster Satoshi Kobayashi put on a keep-away display at one point, as he picked up a puck in the Mongol corner, circled around the net a-la Wayne Gretzky, and fired. Always aware, Kobayashi picked up the rebound and circled the net again, shooting when he came out front. The scene repeated itself multiple times, as Kobayashi set Canadians records for longest puck possession, most repeating circles around the net, and most shots on goal in a single shift.
Semi-Finals: Canadians 5 - Incheon IceHoles 3
If the quarterfinals were easier than had been expected, the semifinals were to have been the biggest challenge of the tournament for the boys from Tokyo. The IceHoles, whom the Canadians beat for third place in last year's consolation final, had stacked their already-solid team with three players from the Korean pro league. After seeking the IceHoles dismantle the strong Geckos team that had beat the Canadians in the final divisional match-up, the Canadians knew they must bring their A-game to survive. The line of Kimoto-Slaton-Kodrowski fought hard to make things happen, and created several opportunities from the opening face-off. Kodrowski, who was so snakebitten (zero goals to this point) that he had received ribbing from Kimoto on his ability to bury the puck up high ("we should get Kodi some Viagra to help him get it up!"), finally got on the board with a demanding two-goal performance. Kimoto and Slaton also added tallies for the Canadians, however, parity and strong defense were the story behind this victory. With leader Hiratsuka sidelined with a knee injury, the second and third lines were virtually interchangeable, with players regularly switching positions, linemates, and shifts. What didn't change, however, was their ability to play responsibly in their own end and help Antonelli and the D-men see the puck and clear the rebounds. With the final horn, the Canadians had gotten back to a place they had been several times before - the Finals of the Kimchee Pot.
Following the game, an exhausted IceHole player lingered outside the Canadians dressing room. Confused why another team's player would be staring in, the Canadians asked the stranger, "What are you looking for?" His response: "I wanted to see what a winning team looked like!"
Canadians 5 - Geckos Hansons 4
The Finals had all the makings: two wildly successful and skilled teams, injured players fighting to play, a stadium filled with fans celebrating Canada Day with plenty of drinks complements of the RMT, speaches from government ambassadors from Canada (Ambassador) and Anyang (Mayor), and finally the national anthems of both Korea and Canada - which served to fire-up all the boys, conjuring images of days gone by, and the hard work and dedication that had gotten them back to the Championship game. This would certainly be their year, they thought.....
From the opening faceoff, the Geckos dominated the Canadians. Despite Antonelli kicking, sprawling, diving and fighting for every loose puck, the Canadians still found themselves down 3-0 after one period. For all the excitement the Canadians had felt prior to the game, they had come out flat once again, seemingly letting the opportunity to carry the coveted Pot pass them by.
But letting down was NOT something leaders Hiratsuka, Kimoto, Heather, or Chung had on their minds, as they calmly reminded the boys that there was a lot of hockey left to be played. "Plug again one at a time." "Tighten up in the D-zone." "Don't get down." "We've been in this position before." "We've got depth, let's use it."
The second period was better, but despite the improved efforts, the Canadians still found themselves down 4-1 (the lone goal coming on a Doris blast that found the crossbar and net). While the score didn't bode well, the forthcoming third period offered the Canadians stop-time, meaning they could utilize each second of the 15 minutes on the clock to come together and tie the game up.
Five minutes into a fast moving third period, Rock Voisine launched on one of his signature rushes, eluding Geckos defenders, and grabbing the puck alone in the high slot. Recognizing the opportunity, Voisine unloaded a slapshot that found nothing but net, and the score was suddenly a manageable 4-2. Knowing that they had a chance to climb back in, the Canadians stepped up their defensive pressure, and Antonelli turned away several chances to keep the dream alive. Following a long Geckos rally, Mike Doris saw an opportunity as a streaking Kimoto dashed to the far blue line. Catching Doris' pass in stride, Kimoto found the top left corner to cut the lead even further. With 5 minutes remaining on the clock, the score was 4-3. To the utter disbelief to the Geckos and their fans, this game was going to come down to the wire.
Enter the veteran..... Chawanya, subbing for Hiratsuka on the second line, watched eagerly as RopponGuy and Kobayashi fought for a loose puck off an offensive zone face-off with three minutes left on the clock. Digging, pushing, shoving, and fighting....the puck found it's way to Chaw's stick. The savvy vet, who had been in pressure situations like this many times before, fired his signature wrist shot, which found it's way into the net after passing through the goalie's armpit. The comeback was complete - 4-4.
The next 2:45 saw a seesaw battle where offense outshine defense, but whereby the Canadians defenders stood strong in front and cleared loose pucks resulting from Antonelli saves. As the clocked ticked toward zero, overtime seemed to be forthcoming. Every face-off was a critical and heart-wrenching moment, as centers Slaton and RopponGuy bared down and won when it mattered most. With 0:30 left in the game, Slaton won a draw deep in the Canadians zone, and the ever-thinking Kimoto darted for center ice. Heather saw Kimoto on the move, and hit him with a stretch pass reminiscent of Kimoto's first goal. Kimoto caught the puck, carried it in on goal, faked left, and went right, sliding a backhand through the goalie's legs to put the Canadians ahead 5-4, with 0:14 left to play. Mobbed by his teammates in the corner, Kimoto said, "I had to change my moves, I couldn't beat him on the same one twice." "We've got 14 seconds left boys, you got the lungs to kill it?" asked Slaton.
Off the faceoff, the Geckos controlled play and made one last rush. Antonelli made the save, and Heather held the puck as time ran out. The comeback was complete, the long road neared it's end, and the Tokyo Canadians were 2006 Kimchee Pot Champs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sweat-filled faces, injured limbs, broken skates, bloody noses, broken sticks, stolen bags, new nicknames, and long nights had led these Canadians to a common status - Champions!
Fittingly, the Canadians supplemented their championship by taking home individual hardware as well:
Best Goalie: The CAT - Chris Antonelli (2nd top goalie award of the year)
Best D-man: Chi Chi Rock Voisine
MVP: Strong and Steady James Heather
Canadians Win Maple Leaf Cup
March 4, 2006 Singapore
The Tokyo Canadians bring home the Maple Leaf Cup from the Singapore Invitational Tournament for the second year in a row. The Canadians defended their title with a 9-2 win over the Nokia Ice Devils from Finland. The Canadians got solid goaltending from Hiroki Narushima and Troy MacPhee, plus some scoring production from the entire squad.
Mike Slaton picked up 3 goals in the final. Adding to the scoring were Chris Antonelli, J.O. Caron, Cam Knox, Scott McCaskie, Dave Lindsay, and young Kevin Holt, who registered his first goal, on his first roadtrip, as a Tokyo Canadian.
The championship game followed a 8-0 victory over Singapore's B&W World Team in the semi-final. Goal scorers in the semi-final were Cam Knox with two, Mike Slaton with two, Dave Lindsay, Scott McCaskie, Jason Young, and one fight short of the Gordie Howe hat-trick, hatchet-man Joji Hiratsuka.
We won't mention the 6-3 drunken loss to the same B&W team the night before, where Jason Young picked up two goals, and Rob Voisine netted one.
March 2, 2006 Singapore
The Tokyo Canadians came out flying against the Germany Geronimos in the first game of the 2006 Singapore Invitational Tournament. The marathon scoring started with a blueline blast from Keith McQueen that blazed through the German goalie's legs. This was soon followed by a Cam Knox rush and a hard backhander that found it's way between the goalie's legs. After bit of back and forth play, and the Germans getting their first shot on net, Dave Lindsay skated across the blue line and cranked a shot straight at the German goalie's pads, only to see it rip right through and into the net.
Now that Tokyo had figured out the target, more goals followed by Mike Slaton, a pair by Jean Olivier Caron, two by Joji Hiratska, and thanks to some smooth passing from Scott McCaskie, Lindsay put in two more for the hat-trick.
The Germans finally got on the scoreboard late in the game with a quick top shelf shot from in close, making the final score 10 - 1.
For Game Two, the Tokyo Canadians went up against a fresh Bangkok Flying Farangs II team, playing in their first game of the tournament. Although the Canadians sent a lot of rubber towards the Bangkok goal, the Farangs' goalie remained solid and Bangkok capitalized on their few first-period scoring opportunities to take a 2 - 0 lead. The Bangkok goalie continued to play brillantly until Cam Knox rifled in a shot low to the glove side. However, the Farangs quickly popped in another one. Rob Voisine brought the Canadians back to within one, netting another blast to the low glove side. Tokyo just couldn't put anymore past the Farangs' goalie, and Bangkok stole the game away from the Canadians with a score of 4-2.
March 3, 2006 Singapore
In the third game of the round-robin round, the Tokyo Canadians dusted off the Singapore Rusty Blades. Scott McCaskie started the scoring by shovelling in a well fought for rebound. Cam Knox, Mike Slaton, Rob Voisine, Kevin Meehan and Dave Lindsay all tallied in a penalty-plagued game that became a bit rough and chippy. The Blades only managed to sneek one past goalie Troy McPhee, for a final score of 6 - 1.
Champions Champions Champions
January 29, 2006 Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia
The Tokyo Canadians finally ended the foreign soil championship drought with a convincing 9-4 victory over Mongolia in the Ulaan Baatar Cup finals. The teams agreed to play a four period contest to appease the numerous players attending from the Mongolian countryside. Conditions were dry and cold...
Shaking off the effects of an eventful Chinese New Year celebration, both teams came out flying. Mongolia got on the scoreboard first after opportunistically creating a 2-0 break. Chris Antonelli made the first two saves, but Mongolia scored on the third chance. The Mongol advantage was short-lived however, as Kari (from KL) buried a slapper from the point past the Mongolian goalie to tie the game at one. The teams skated for 15 minutes at 1-1, until Mike Slaton converted a one on one with a lofting flutter shot over the goalie`s shoulder.
Playing with a lead again seemed natural for the Canadians, as they built on the 2-1 advantage with 7 more goals. The Mongols managed to light the lamp three more times, but the outcome had long since been decided. Canadian scoring consisted of Kari (4), Slaton (3), Kodi and Toshi Takahashi (1).
After the presentation of the Governor`s Cup, the boys headed back to the Palace Hotel for a traditional Mongolian award ceremony. Just as they had done on the ice, the Canadians took home the hardware at the ceremony. The following individual awards are coming back to Tokyo along with the Cup.
Memorable Off-Ice Antics - Slaton, Kodi, Kari
Best Female Player - Yakumo Sugiyama
Best Goaltender - Chris Antonelli
Tournament MVP - Mike Slaton
Canadians To Play for Mongolia Cup Championship
January 28,2006 Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia
In sunny (but frosty) Ulaan Baatar, the Tokyo Canadians have skated to a 2-0 record, and have clinched a spot in Sunday's Mongolia Cup Finals. In Friday's action, TCHC beat the Seoul Geckos 11-1 behind 4 goals from Joji Hiratsuka, 3 goals each from Mike Slaton and Kodi Kodrowski, and one goal by Satoshi Chawanya. Chris Antonelli, strapping on the goalie pads for the first time in five years, was solid in net turning away numerous Geckos chances. Newcomer Mike Doris and first-time visitor Yakumo Sugiyama also played solid games for the Canadians.
In Saturday's action, in much colder weather after a nighttime snowfall, the Canadians battled illness (with a case of food poisoning and frostbite) to emerge victorious over the Rocky Mountain Tavern Chiefs. With the addition of visiting defenseman Kari (Kuala Lumpur) and Toshi Takahashi, the Canadians had the depth they needed to pull through. Slaton led the way with 4 goals, Hiratsuka and Kodrowski had 2 apiece, and Kari netted his first goal in a TCHC sweater as the final whistle sounded with the score 9-1. Antonelli was again solid, wowing spectators with several solid saves, and a spectacular diving stop to seal the victory.
Tomorrow's final pits the Canadians against the host Mongolia skaters, who make up for inferior skill with the depth of a team 30 skaters deep. Game time is 1pm.
In other news, team captains of all foreign teams were interviewed on national Mongolian television Thursday night. All of the Canadians got a chuckle, while the other teams were dumbfounded when Slaton responded to the question, "Why did you guys come so far to visit Mongolia?" Slaton's response: "We're here to win a hockey tournament..."