Roaring Victory: TCHC Triumphs Over Team Africa


Date of Game: March 23, 2024

Team Africa

by Mark Solie, staff writer

Despite the lingering winter chill when cherry blossoms should have adorned the city, an enthusiastic atmosphere set the stage for an unforgettable Hockey Night in Tokyo. The game commenced with a slight delay attributed to the notorious ‘Tokyo Traffic,’ a challenge even for seasoned residents, let alone newcomers. This gave the Tokyo Canadians more time to reflect on the hard-fought 6-2 loss to the Africans last Saturday.

However, once the puck dropped, both teams unleashed a flurry of action, captivating the audience with end-to-end play that ignited the fans’ enthusiasm.

Team Africa drew first blood with a quick goal by Benoit HARDY-CHARTRAND, assisted by Ben MBURU, only to face a relentless onslaught from the TCHC. The dynamic trio of BUREAU, GROSSMANN, and CHUANG spearheaded the TCHC’s charge, netting four consecutive goals. Toma LA CARA managed to squeeze in a late goal for Team Africa before the end of the first period.

The momentum shifted dramatically in the second period as Team Africa unleashed a torrent of five goals, eclipsing the TCHC’s three, setting the stage for a nail-biting finish. With the score poised at 8-7 in favor of the TCHC heading into the final period, the intensity reached an electrified pitch, reminding many of the long-time TCHC members of the glory days.

Greg ROZITIS emerged as a pivotal figure for Team Africa, notching a pair of crucial goals, while Hiroki IIDA rallied for the Canadians. With the score deadlocked at 10-10 late in the third period, the TCHC veterans rose to the occasion. Mike LAROSE and defenseman Noah HONCH showcased their experience and skill, propelling their team to a narrow lead with back-to-back goals.

A last-second effort from ROZITIS for Team Africa injected a final burst of hope but ultimately fell short, sealing a hard-fought victory for the Tokyo Canadians with a final score of 12-11.

Special appreciation is extended to the Friendship League and TCHC captain Joji Hiratsuka for orchestrating an exceptional 10-day journey to Japan for the African players to foster friendship and sportsmanship across borders.

The African Hockey players:
LITIM, Harond (Algeria) CF
GHONAIM, Mahmoud (Egypt) FW
MBURU, Benjamin (Kenya) FW
SIHOHO, Faith (Kenya) FW
BALHA, Charles (Morocco) FW
GIESSEN-HOOD, Nadja (South Africa) DF

(FYI, the staff writer’s ‘pen name’ above is an anagram. Get used to it for the Charity Trivia Night on March 27.)

Video courtesy of Hiromi, #88 in Red

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Mickaël HÉBERT BUREAU was the MVP for the second consecutive game scoring a hat trick along with three assists to lead the TCHC to victory.