Canadians Red Squad Wins Costly Red & White Classi
The Tokyo Canadians Red Squad defeated Team White 9-8 in the teams' Second Annual Red & White Classic at Yoyogi National Stadium in Harajuku on Wednesday night.
Coming off recent, lop-sided victories over the Tokyo Monsters and Sugiura Eagles, the club opted to once again divide the team for this special night thereby creating line parity and unpredictable action in a game that wasn’t decided until the closing minutes.
A rather sparse crowd of 12 watched the ex-pat club push the puck around the ice with exciting end-to-end rushes, often times with tape-to-tape passing precision. As proof of their enthusiasm, the crowd even broke into ‘The Tsunami’ - or ‘The Wave’ as it’s called in North America - on several occasions.
Perhaps the nicest goal of the evening was a bullet snapshot from the slot by blueliner Rob Smaal beating goalie Lyle Warbinek top shelf on the glove side. Warbinek, playing a bit too far on the stick end, was simply unable to get across the crease in time to get a hand on Smaal’s rocket.
Also doing damage for Team Red were Kevin Meehan, Bruce Hill, Eddie Takaya and Denton Venable with Jason ‘MVP’ Young finally knocking in the game winner. Stu Kimoto, Doug Battaglia, Joji Hiratsuka, Bobby Chung and Sean Hopkins answered for the ‘home whites’.
The biggest highlight of the evening was the surprise appearance of Tokyo alum Kevin Meehan. ‘The Lean Meehan Machine’ received a rousing reception from his old teammates and then promptly bagged three pucks.
“It was great to finally skate with the guy.” said Venable. “I think we all learned something from him out there tonight.”
“Yeah, especially those dieting tips,” added Kimoto. “I had no idea the Atkins diet was so effective.”
Speedy winger Koichi Ogiso agreed.
“......(smiles widely).......(nods head).......(blinks)........,” commented Ogiso.
This year's Red & White Classic also happened to fall on the 36th birthday of speedy defenseman Gary 'Evil Knievel' Cox. Strangely, the Winnipeg native, while putting on a great display, was unable to score all evening mainly due to James Heather's 'clutch and hold-on' technique. As a tribute to the birthday boy, the Canadians downed several rounds of beer at a post-game celebration at nearby Scruffy Murphy's pub with Cox buying most of the rounds, of course.
Team Injury Report
Unfortunately, the inter-squad tilt proved costly with a number of key players going down with injuries.
For starters, veteran defenseman Neil Moody reportedly suffered a fracture in his last remaining, uninjured rib. He could miss up to a year.
Goaltender Hiroki Narushima was strangely diagnosed with ‘a cracked breastbone’. When asked if it was the result of a Jamie Heather or Keith McQueen slapshot, Narushima replied, “I don’t know but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t James. I don’t think I’ve ever seen his shot hit the bottom four feet of the net.”
In addition, Dave Lindsay pulled a groin, Heather continues to suffer from a swollen foot courtesy of a Takaya slapshot, Hiratsuka has mild internal bleeding, Hopkins somehow pulled his back, and Young received a bloody nose, once again making him the early favorite to repeat the ‘bleeder leader’ title on the team.
And finally, defenseman Dave Lotocki suffered a bruised ego after being beaten one-on-one on the hardest working goal of Hiratsuka’s career.
Matsumoto, Hill Agree To Terms
The Tokyo Canadians hockey club would like to congratulate winger Bruce Hill on his recent marriage to Miss Sachiko Matsumoto.
The long time free agent finally agreed to a long term deal on December 28th at St. David's Church in Canada.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Blueliner Burns Bids "Good Day, Eh" to Japan
In what will go down as one of the saddest days in team history, Tokyo Canadians legendary defenseman Gavin Burns bid farewell to his friends and eammates at a private going-away dinner in late October.
The 28-year old native of Cambridge, Ontario patrolled the Canadians blueline for five seasons with stops in Hong Kong, Bangkok and the legendary run to Chiang Mai in 2001. He also played in the Kanagawa League with the Yokohama-based All Nippon Airways team (or A.N. eh?).
While often mistaken for a Newfie, the linguistically challenged Burns amazingly secured five years of employment teaching English as a Second Language, leaving behind a trail of dazed and confused students in his wake.
"His classes were a thing of beauty," said student Daizo Takahashi, "especially when he brought donuts and two-fours to class, eh? Solid!"
While he usually left his teammates in stitches off the ice, he always provided solid defensive work on the ice leaving the remaining Canadians worried about the void.
"Here we lose a young and versatile defenseman in Burnsie," said alternate captain Joji Hiratsuka, "and replace him with.......Moody."
At the going-away dinner in Tokyo's Roppongi district, a dry-eyed Burns prepared a speech but was unable to read it due to the abundance of free beer. It read;
"Just wanted to say thanks for four years with the TCHC. I had a great time at the parties and tournaments (not necessarily in that order), and will miss the friendly scrimmages in Tokyo. However, I won't miss lugging my hockey bag home on the Yamanote line during rush hour. Made a few friends there, I tell ya!
Good luck in Chiang Mai this year...at the tournament and on that crazy firecracker bridge. I can honestly say I've been to war after making it across in one piece!
If you are ever in the Toronto area, Cambridge is just up the road, so drop in for a couple coldies, eh.
Take it easy."
When asked about future plans, Burns said he and his young bride will return to Cambridge and "live with the oldies, eh" until a more permanent residence can be established.
Canadians Kick Off Season, Lock Up Drunks
The Tokyo Canadians started off the new season where they left off with a romp over Jason Young and The Drinkers, 12-5, at Jingu Arena on Monday night. The assault was led by Joji Hiratsuka who had an incredible four goal evening. Bobby Chung, Dave Lindsay, Koichi Ogiso, Cam Knox, Mike La Rose and just about everyone else in uniform contributed a goal or two before the night was over. Goaltender Lyle Warbinek and his new pads are now 1-0 on the season. The victory marked an amazing eighteen month winning streak for the team in domestic games. The Canadians have not lost a game in Japan since April 20, 2001 when they fell 4-1 to the Tokyo Thunderbirds on Dan Moscoe Night.
Canadians Unveil New Fall Fashion
For the first time since 1997, the Canadians unveiled new uniforms that received raving reviews from all in attendance. The new red, white and blue uni's are of lightweight, mesh material and feature angled (like the Buffalo Sables) stripes running up the sides from the base of the sweater. The attractive "racing" numbers adorn the upper sleeves as well as the back. The jerseys even feature name plates replacing the traditional look of the previous sweaters. "I like the new uniforms," said winger Stu Kimono. "I think they make us look faster." "It's an interesting concept,"added Rob Smaal, "see-through and tight. Could make for a good 'wet jersey' contest in Roppongi some night." Special thanks goes out to Jack Guerreiro of the Dubai Mighty Camels for arranging the order and working with the tailor shop in the United Arab Emirates.
Canadians Add More Defense
The Canadians continued to add to their arsenal of defense last month by adding three seasoned veterans. Taking a page from today's indecisive, superstar athletes, Neil "Mario" Moody shocked team officials by announcing he would return from retirement and add 'depth' to the Canadians' blueline. Moody, 45, had retired in December of last year (see related story in the News section) but fought through a grueling training regime and is back to his customary 10 push-up/sit-up a day training program. He was back on the ice Monday against the Drinkers and showed no signs of previous injury.
And in a stunning development, the Canadians added stand-out D-man Dave "Low Talkin" Lotocki when they finally convinced him to pay team dues. Lotocki had been a stellar pointman for the Tokyo Vanguards for several seasons and should make an immediate impact on the team despite the possibility of playing part-time. The Toronto-native still maintains his home residence in San Jose, California but said he was looking forward to playing some quality hockey again regardless of the commute. "Actually, the commute shouldn't be that big of a deal," said Smaal, speaking on Lotocki's behalf. "It shouldn't take him any longer getting here than it takes (Denton) Venable to go blueline-to-blueline."
Also joining the Canadians is 37-year-old rearguard, Keith "Don't call me Steve" McQueen of Collingwood, ON. McQueen, a father of three and who works for TD Securities, also toils with the Thunderbirds in the local league. With the addition of Moody, Lotocki and McQueen, the Canadians now have arguably the best amateur defensive corps in Asia which includes Gary Cox, Jason Young, James Heather and Smaal.
Canadians Cream Seamen
Crewmen from the HMCS Ottawa took a much deserved break from the War on Terror last weekend by spending a few days of R&R at Yokosuka Naval Base, taking in the sites of Japan, and topping it off with a friendly scrimmage against the Tokyo Canadians. Perhaps they wish they had kept on sailing past Japan.
The Tokyo Canadians, taking a break from their hectic, summer vacations, completely crushed the naval boys 9-0 at the infamous Hamabowl in beautiful Yokohama, Japan. But in all fairness to the seamen, most agreed this was the best outing by the Tokyo squad all season.
Behind solid defensive play from D-men Dave Lotocki, Jason "MVP" Young, Joji Hiratsuka, and Gavin Burns, goalie Hiroki Narushima earned his first shutout since the three he picked up at the 2000 Bangkok games.
Hiratsuka, Lotocki, Scott McCaskie, Sean Hopkins, Dave Lindsay, Cam Knox, Bruce Hill, and even Gavin "Second Degree" Burns found the back of the net for Tokyo.
On a positive note for Ottawa, goaltender Chris Koblun earned everyone's respect with some spectacular saves keeping the game from getting even worse than the score indicated. The scorekeeper simply stopped counting but the shot tally was believed to be around 70.
The loss for Ottawa comes after a recent 11-1 spanking at the hands of the Dubai Mighty Camels.
For more information on the HMCS Ottawa, please check out their webpage at HMCS Ottawa
Canadians Sign Cox
After three years of bitter negotiations, the Tokyo Canadians have finally agreed to terms with defenseman Gary Cox. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native has spent the last several seasons skating for the Tokyo Thunderbirds.
Cox's claim to fame is having played the 1984-85 season with the Moose Jaw Warriors skating along side hockey greats Mike Keane, Theo Fluery, Kelly Buchberger and, last, but not least, Bob "How's it goin, eh?" MacKenzie. He also had the privilege of playing under controversial coach Graham James.
Canadians Make It Perfect Ten
The Tokyo Canadians, only six weeks shy of the Kuala Lumpur Tournament, made it a perfect 10 wins in a row with a 6-2 victory over cross-town rival Tokyo Monsters at Jingu Arena on Friday night. Despite skating without Joji Hiratsuka, Jason Young and Dave Lindsay, all participating in the Dubai Games, and the recently relocated John Richmond, the Canadians were able to manhandle the hard-hitting Monsters for the fourth time this season.
After a slow start, rookie sensation Bobby Chung got things rolling with a one-timer off a Dale Stadnichuk pass. Stadnichuk, the 5"5" Curt Giles look alike - complete with green trousers - was a pleasant surprise appearing in his first game in over a year.
Satoshi Kobayashi quickly added a pair of nice goals followed by singles from Cam Knox, Gary Cox, and James Heather.
Rob "it ain't that" Smaal even got in on the action by deflecting an opponents pass past his own keeper Lance Leeder to give the Monsters their second goal of the night.
Canadians on the Mend
The grueling two games a month grind is beginning to take it's toll on the ageing Canadians' roster as the IR continues to grow.
Solid, two-way center Eddie Takaya remains sidelined as he recovers from knee surgery. He's expected back on the ice in May.
Less than solid, one-way winger Denton Venable is listed as day-to-day with sore ribs following an extremely uncalled for hit by Monsters' forward Dennis Waechter.
Winger Kevin Meehan continues to nurse an ever-expanding gut and is expected to miss more ice time. Team doctors insist he'll play again once the swelling goes down. He's listed as month-to-month.
And finally, Mike "Rosey" LaRose remains on his one-year maternity leave. No word as to when his wife will give him the go ahead to return to his customary right wing or his appointed position of Team President.