• Nationality: Canada


    Shoots: Left


    Turning and noticing Lanny McDonald of the Calgary Flames beside me at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo was a thrill. In Tokyo for the NHL’s game between the Sharks and Flames in 1998, Lanny and his famous moustache responded to my comment, recalling watching him play with Darryl Sittler, “You know, we had a blast.” 

    Well, playing for the Tokyo Canadians was also a blast.

    Many moments stand out, including the first of a series of fundraising events organized by the TCHC at the Canadian Embassy to help fund the team’s overseas tournaments and charitable donations.

    Overseas tournaments were something to look forward to. One November, the Tokyo Canadians were in Bangkok for the annual tournament hosted by the Flying Farangs. The rivalry between the tournament’s top two teams was always the Hong Kong team, made up of primarily Canadian expats, and the TCHC. This always led to exciting encounters on and off the ice. 

    Something was amiss before one of the tournament games. The Canadians waited patiently at their hotel for a pickup to the arena to play the Hong Kong team. The scheduled ride did not arrive, and the team was due on the ice in about an hour. Realizing the dilemma, founding member Neil Moody took matters into his own hands and commandeered a local bus that happened to be passing by, convincing the driver to take the team to the arena. The driver took the tip, and the team loaded their gear and got to the rink just before puck drop.

    Many talented players passed through the Canadians’ ranks, and playing with them was a pleasure. The whole idea of forming the team was to create an opportunity for Canadians in Japan to continue to enjoy what many of us had been doing since we were kids. Being a team member allowed us to act like kids again by enjoying the game we love – hockey.

    Neil was the executive director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ) during his playing days with the Tokyo Canadians. For the past ten years, he has continued to work as the CEO of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC. After back surgery in Japan and his hockey playing days over, Neil has recently started skating at stick and puck at the Burnaby 8 rinks in Greater Vancouver, enjoying that sweaty feeling again – albeit much slower.

    Neil has enjoyed watching and supporting his son Davey’s hockey journey from the early days of H3 up to playing Junior hockey and winning a division championship in BC with the Peninsula Panthers in 2021-22 before aging out last year with his hometown White Rock Whalers. Coming full circle, Davey, on a recent visit to Japan, played with the Tokyo Canadians Hockey Club and wore Neil’s old TCHC number 9 jersey. The dream from the early days of the team’s inception had come full circle.