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Yukijirushi to abolish ice hockey team.(Sep. 27)
Yomiuri Shinbun---Snow Brand Milk Products Co.(Yukijirushi) announced Tuseday
it will abolish its ice hockey team and track and field sports club in fiscal 2001
as part of the company's restructuring plan.
The abolishment of the two sport clubs is a part of the company's restructuring plan
to cut 1,300 personnel to rebuild businesses which were damaged by the outbreak of
food poisoning caused by Snow Brand products.
Its skiing club, which has medalists in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano
will not be affected by the plan, a Yukijirushi official said.
The ice hockey team and track and field club will continue their activities
in the current fiscal year as scheduled, the official said.
Yukijirushi ice hockey team was established in 1979 and belongs to the Japan Ice Hockey League.
It was ranked fifth among six teams last season.

Seibu skates to title.(Apr. 1)
Daily Yomiuri---Matt kabayama scored the game-winning goal on a power play midway through the third period
as Seibu Tetsudo ended Kokudo's bid for a third straight Japan Ice Hockey League championship
with a 3-2 win at Higashi Eushimi Arena on Saturday afternoon.
For a game in which 15 penalties were calld, it wasn't surprising that Kabayama's winner came on the power play.
What was surprising, however, was that there weren't more goals scored with the man advantage.
Seibu, which won its first league title in three years, finaly converted a power-play opportunity
on its sixth and final man advantage to make the score 3-1.
It was the 10th league title for Seibu, which outshot kokudo 37-32. Dusty Imoo was named the series MVP.

Seibu looks to knock Kokudo off course in ice hockey final.(Mar. 24)
Daily Yomiuri---Perennial powerhouses Kokudo and Seibu will be battling for
Japan Ice hockey League supremacy when their best-of-five final series gets under way
Saturday at Makomanai Ice Rink in sapporo.
Seibu will be trying to stop Kokudo from winning its third straight league championship.
But it won't be an easy task to stop top-placed Kokudo which is fireing on all cylinders
after sweeping its semifinal series against Oji 3-0.
Seibu was taken to a fifth game by the Nippon Seishi Cranes.
The Bunnies will be relying on former NHLers John Tucker, Corey Foster and
Japan national team veteran Toshiki Sakai to guide them to the three-peat.
Second-placed seibu will be countering on the goal-scoring punch of forwards Chris Bright
and Ryan Fujita, who finished 1-2 in total points during the regular season
and combined for 52 goals in 30 games.
Fujita has continued his torrid pace in the playoffs, racking up five goals and
nine points against the Cranes.
The two teams split their regular season series, winning three games each.
Game 3 will be played at Higashi Fushimi Arena in western Tokyo next Thursday evening and ,
if neccessary, Games 4 and 5 wil be held on the weekend at the same venue.

JIHL regular season is over.(Mar. 5)
Kokudo, Seibu, Cranes, Oji advance to playoff semifinal.

Oji foils Kokudo's all-Japan 4-peat bid.(Jan. 16 ,Tokyo)

the 67th All-Japan Ice Hockey Championship

Jan.11Seibu 6-3 Snow Brand
Kokudo 3-1 Cranes
Jan.12Bucks 3-4 Snow Brand
Oji 2-0 Cranes
Jan.13Seibu 4-2 Bucks
Kokudo 5-0 Oji
Jan.15(Semifinal)Seibu 2-3 Oji
Kokudo 2-2 Snow Brand
Kokudo wins penalty shootout 3-1
5thBucks 4-3 Cranes
Jan.16(Final)Kokudo 4-7 Oji
3rdSeibu 0-3 Snow Brand
Kokudo's string of five consecutive Japanese ice hockey titles came to an end Sunday
afternoon when it was upset 7-4 by Oji Seishi at Tokyo's Yoyogi Arena.
Makoto Kawahira scored three goals, including what proved to be the game winner
with 52 seconds left in the second period, and Hiroshi matsuura added two of his own
to lead Oji to the 67th All-Japan Championship crown.
It was the team's first All-Japan Championship sice 1996 when they put together
a string of five straight crowns.
Oji has now won this mid-season tournament 32 times, and has twice put together runs of
five chamionships on a row, a feat which hasn't been matched by any other team.
Kokudo, for its part, was looking for its fourth consecutive All-Japan crown
and the eighth in its history.
Kokudo, which has won the past three all-Japans and the last two Japan Ice Hockey League titles,
has been the dominant force in Japanease hockey over the last several years,
losing only eight games last season and four so far this year with just over half the schedule having been played.
But the Bunnies, playing without starting goaltender Shinichi Iwasaki
who was out with a pulled groin sustained during Kokudo's semifinal win over Yukijirushi,
looked only mortal against an Oji team which they had beaten 5-0
during the preliminary round of this tournament.

Penguins, Predators to hit ice in Japan(Jan. 5 )
PITTSBURGH,Pa. (AP)---The Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predtors
will open the 2000-01 NHL season with a two-game series Oct. 7-8 in Japan.
Several Penguins, including NHL scoring leader Jaromir Jagr,
played for the gold medal-winning Czech Republic team in the1998 Nagano Olympics.
Last season, the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks opend the season in Japan.
Anaheim and Vancouver played there to start the 1997-98 season.
The games will be played at Saitama Arena, scheduled to open next fall.
Each team will lose one home game by making the trip.
The series will mark the first time that Eastern Conference teams will play in Japan,
with Jagr no doubt the prime attraction. He received more votes for
the NHL All-Star game than any player in history.
Eight Penguins played in the 1998 Winter Olympics, including Martin Straka,
Alexei Kovalev, Aleksey Morozov, Robert Lang and Darius Kasparaitis,
and coach Herv Brooks coached the French Olympic team.

Japan's juniors place 5th(Jan. 5 )
NAGANO(AFP-Jiji)---Host Japan routed Estonia on Monday to place fifth in the Pool C
competition of the world Junior Ice Hockey Championships,
while Austria earnd promotion to Pool B.
Japan netted seven third-period goals to complete a 9-1 victory over Estonia
at the BIg Hat Arena, site of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.
In the final of the tournament, Austria defeated Slovenia 6-2 to rise
to the next highest tier of world junior hockey.
Britain beat Hungary 7-2 to finish in third place, while Lithuania topped Yugoslavia
5-1 for seventh place. Yugoslavia will be relegated to Pool D.


Ice hockey fan beaten to death(Dec. 7 )
MOSCOW(Reuters)---A young Spartak Moscow ice hockey fan was beaten to death
and dozens more suffered serious injuries during a fight at a Russian league game
in Voronezh, Moscow television reported Sunday.
TVTs Moscow said several hundred fans from both sides clashed during
the second period of saturday's first division game between Spartak and a local side in Voronezh,
an industrial town 300 kilometers south of Moscow.
Television showed pictures of hooligans hurling plastic chairs at each other
and onto the ice while police used batons to disperse the crowd.

New NHL rules made overtime games decisive(Nov. 17 )
DailyYomiuri---New NHL rules haven't done much to increase scoring,
but they have made overtime games more decisive.
Through 243 games this season, there have been 55 overtime games and 22 have ended in a victory.
In 1998, just 8 of 45 avoid ties at a similar point.

NHL facing new rules(Oct. 1 )
NEW YORK(AP)--- This season, the NHL will have more officials on the ice,
less players skating in overtime, and perhaps fewer controversies involving
the man-in-the-crease rule.
Included among the rule changes this year, on ice officials will decided wherher
a goal is legal when scored with an attaking player in the crease. Pleviously, it was
a black-and-white decision decided by a video review.
Meanwhile, the NHL will use two referees in 50 games per team this season,
up from 20 last year. The league feels it will help refs make the judgment calls.
A change of equal significance will be four-on-four play during overtime.
From now on, each team will be guaranteed one point if regulation time ends in a tie.
the team will play with only four skaters instead of five during the five-minute overtime.
If a team wins, it gets an extra point.

NHL investigates fight after game(Sep. 28 )
COLUMBUS, Ohio(AP)---The NHL is investigating a fight between the Washington Capitals'
general manager and several members of the Chicago Blackhawks.
NHL spokesman Frank Brown on Sunday confirmed the league was looking into the violence
that followed Saturday night' penalty-filled exhibition game.
Capitals general manager George McPhee's face was cut and one arm of his suit was torn off
when he was surrounded and punched by Blackhawks players. McPhee gave Chicago coach
Lorne Molleken a black eye,The Washington Post reported.
In other NHL news, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Dave Manson has been suspended
indefinitely by the NHL after he attempted to injure Washington's Steve Konowalchuk
during Saturday's exhibition game.

NHL, players discuss 2002 Olympics(Sep. 22 )
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.(AP)---The National Hockey League and the players' association
made progress toward an agreement that would alllow players from the league
to compete in the 2002 Olympic at Salt Lake City.
NHL officials and the union met with International Ice Hockey Federation president
Rene Fasel on Tuesday. Some issues remain unresolved, but an anouncement
by the IIHF is expected before the end of the year.
The agreement si expected to include a provision for a World Cup tounament in 2004,
an important issue for the players. With the collective bargaining agreement expiring
and a major battle expected for a new deal, the players would benefit from a tounament
that brings goodwill and money to the union.
The length of the NHL break during the Olympics was among the issues under discussion.
The league took 17 days off last year for the Nagano Games.

Japan captures Asian Cup(Sep. 6 )
---HACHINOHE, Aomori(Kyodo)---
Taro Nihei of Kokudo Bunnies scored early in the first period Sunday
and the Japanese national hockey team cruised to a 5-0 victory over China
to capture the 1999 Asian Cup.
With the one-sided victory at the Niida indoor rink in Hachinohe,
Japan finished the three-nation tourney with a perfect 2-0 record
and will return to the A Pool for next year's world championships on
St. Petersburg, Russia.
Japan also guaranteed itself of a place in the first round of next year's
qualifying tournament for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics,
which will be held in Denmark next February.

New club to replace Furukawa(Aug. 7 )
---Yomiuri Shinbun---
The Japan Ice Hockey League(JIHL) has been given a reprieve and
will begin the 1999-2000 season with six teams.
It was feared the JIHL would be reduced to five teams after the Furukawa Denko team,
one of the oldest clubs in the league, was disbanded earlier this year as part of
its financially strapped parent company's streamlining program.
Furukawa Denko announced in January it would disband the club at the end of the 1998-99 season,
but the Tochigi Prefectural Ice Hockey Federation announced Thursday
the establishment of Nikko Ice Hockey Club as a successor to Furukawa team.
The new team, which will be known as "HC Nikko Bucks,"
will remain based in Nikko like its predecessors.
The Bucks are expected to be stocked mostly by Furukawa players
who have remained with Furukawa Denko, an electric cable maker.
Mitsuhiro Seshita, a Tochigi federation official, will serve as the president of the new club,
established with a capital base of \3.1 million.

Stars take Stanley Cup epic(Jun. 19 )
Hull's disputed goal in 3rd overtime clinches series 4-2
---BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)---
The Dallas Stars might have been the first Stanley Cup winner too exhausted to lift it.
Brett Hall scored at 14:51 of the third overtime, putting a rebound over weary Dominik
Hasek as the Dallas Atars won hockey's biggest prize as much by exhoustion as execution,
outlasting the Buffalo Sabers 2-1 Saturday night and taking the series 4-2 overall.
It was the second-longest overtime game in Stanley Cup finals history
and the longest to decide a winner---and a disputed winner at that.
The angry Sabers protested that Hull's left skate was in the crease as he scored.
"We had nothing left. They had nothing left. Thank God it's over,"
Stanley Cup playoff MVP Joe Nieuwendyk of Dallas said.
Call it a Sun Belt Stanley Cup. Dallas is the southernmost city to hoist the cup.
When Load Stanley paid $50 for the cup in 1892, he likely didn't envision it being won
by a team located much closer to Mexico than Canada.

Shootings affect NHL schedule(Apr. 22 )
DENVER, Colo. (Reuters)--- After a high school massacre that left at least 15 people
dead, the NHL has postponed and reconfigured the start of the first-round playoff
series between the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks.
@The Avalanche, scheduled to begin a best-of-seven series with San Jose by
hosting the Sharks Wednseday night at McNichols Arena, will now play
the first two games on the road. San Jose will host Games 1 and 2
on Saturday and Monday.
The series will return to Colorado for Games 3 (April 28), 4 (April 30) and 5 (May 1),
if necessary. If a Game 6 is needed, it will be held May 3 in San Jose.
Game 7 will be back in Colorado at a date to be determined in the future.
The postponement comes as a result of the massacre at Columbine High School
in Littleton, about 20 minutes from Denver. At least 15 people died in an attack
on teachers and students when two students walked into the school and opened fire.
"All of us send sympathy to the family members and loved ones of those
affected by this tragedy," said NHL commissioneer Gary Bettman.
"today is a day for the community, the fans and the players to deal with their sorrow."

Kokudo crowned as king of JIHL(Apr. 4 )
Kokudo Bunnies rolled past Oji Paper 5-0 Sunday at Tokyo's Higashi Fushimi Arena
to clinch the best-of-5 Japan Ice Hockey League final 3-1 and capture its
second straight JIHL championship.
Veteran winger Toshiyuki Sakai, who captained Japan at the Olympics,
was named league Most Valuable Player after the game.

Kokudo repeats as JIHL champ(Apr. 4 )

---Daily Yomiuri---
It was only fitting that the Japan Ice Hockey League's 1998-99 season should have
ended like this: Streamers flooding the ice surface and Kokudo players taking
their victory lap around the rink.
The Bunnies capped a stellar year by capturing the JIHL's crown for a second
consecutive season with a 5-0 shellacking of Oji Seishi to take
their best-of-5 final playoff series 3-1.
Playing before a capacity crowd at Higashi Fushimi Arena on Sunday,
Kokudo showed the kind of firepower that put it atop the league standings
for most of regular season.
Jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead, Kokudo never looked back en route to a convincing
victory over an Oji team which appeared only too ready to concede
to the inevitable.
Powered by the likes of NHL veterans John Tucker and Corey Foster;
by Olympians Toshiyuki Sakai and Ryan Kuwabara; by overall regular season scoring
leader Shin Yahata; and by Rookie of the Year Takahito Suzuki, it seemed
preordained that there could be no other ending.
But victories don't come easily, even to great teams, and Kokudo had to work hard
from the outset of the season to repeat as champion, a feat of
which most teams only dream.
"I think that doing it over is probably harder than doing it the first time," said Foster,
who was a member of the league's All-star team for a second straight season.
"I found this year that teams really came after us and the guys really responded well
...we're lucky to win this again."
Not only did Kokudo win back-to-back league championships, the team's
All-Japan Championship title was its third in as many years, a feat
whose significance wasn't lost on Kuwabara, who helped seal the win
with two goals. "It's big, I think we made history. Anytime you're able to win
a championship in any league, it's a great feeling."
Oji, which only beat Kokudo twice during eight regular season meetings,
never showd the fire of a team on the verge of elimination. Able to muster only 20 shots,
Oji rarely tested goaltender Shinichi Iwasaki and looked completely
lost after falling behind 2-0 early in the first period on goals
that came off Kokudo power plays.
"The early goals definitly deflated us," said Oji forward Michael Yoshino.
"It's hard for us to come back."
Kokudo went up 4-0 after two periods of play on goals by Tucker and Kuwabara.
Then at 13:51 of the third, Kuwabara put the last nail in Oji's coffin
with a short-handed breakaway goal that beat Miki Aizawa to the glove side.
Kokudo captain Sakai, who was named the league's MVP in a post-game ceremony,
put in an excellent performance despite being held pointless in the final game.
If the Kokudo squad can be held intact for the next season's campaign,
the word 3-peat might be echoing throughout JIHL rinks.

Doomed Furukawa goes down fighting, fall 5-2(Mar. 7 )

---Dayly Yomiuri---
Hockey fans witnessed a piece of history Sunday afternoon at Higashi Fushimi
Ice Arena as Nikko-based Furukawa Denko akated for the last time.
In front of a boisterous sell-out crowd of 3000 plus, the Japan Ice Hockey League
wrapped up its regular season schedule with a full slate of games.
To those unfamiliar with the setting, the first game might apear to have been played
at Furukawa's home rink---there were that many people supporting the team.
the funs yelled and applauded every time a Furukawa player did anything remotely
noteworthy. It was clear everyone wanted the team to go out on a high note.
So it must have been disapointing for the dans when Furukawa, which put up a
scrappy performance, fell to the Nippon Seishi Crains 5-2.

Kokudo skates off with 3rd title in row.(Jan. 17 ,Tokyo)

the 66th All-Japan Ice Hockey Championship

Jan.12Furukawa 5-2 Oji
Kokudo 7-3 Snow Brand
Jan.13Cranes 5-3 Furukawa
Seibu 4-2 Snow Brand
Jan.14Oji 7-4 Cranes
Kokudo 3-0 Seibu
Jan.16(Semifinal)Seibu 5-1 Furukawa
Kokudo 4-0 Oji
5thCranes 6-2 Snow Brand
Jan.17(Final)Kokudo 3-2 Seibu(OT)
3rdFurukawa 3-2 Oji

Furukawa to ice JIHL club.(Jan. 13 )

@The Japanese sports world took another hit from the struggling economy
when electric cable maker Furukawa Denko announced it would disband its
ice hockey team after the current Japan League season.
Furukawa official said they made the decision as part of a corporate
restructuring in response to the sluggish economy.
"We tried to find(another company) to take over the team, but under these
economic conditions, it was all but impossible," Furukawa vice-president Ryuji Shibata said.
Furukawa's decision leaves the JIHL with only five teams, and there is
speculation another unnamed culb might disband as well.
Furukawa is one of Japan's oldest ice hockey clubs, as well as the country's least successful.
Founded in 1925, Furukawa was a founding member of the JIHL in 1966,
but has never finished higher than fourth place in 32 seasons. This season,
the team is currently in last place with a record of 4-24-2.
The club, however has won the All-Japan championship four times and opened
this year's tournament Tuesday with a win over Oji Seishi before losing
Wednesday to Nippon Seishi Cranes.
The JIHL season resumes Feb. 11.

Shoichi Tomita, managing director of JIHL, said that the league will immediately
begin looking for a new sponsor to take the place of Furukawa Denko.
Furukawa, one of the original teams in the league, is folding due to the weak
financial state of the Japanese economy.
If a lone sponsor can not be found, the league is considering allowing several
sponsors per team, a system which would mirror ice hocky leagues in Europe.
The league has a self-imposed deadline of Aug. 31 to find new sponsorship,
No players will be allowed to transfer to new teams until after the deadline.
Tomita would not speculate on what would happen if new sponsorship is not found,
saying only that the league will make an announcement after Aug. 31. He did say,
however, that it would be difficult for the league to continue without at least
six teams, the current number, includung Furukawa.

Russian team in fatal crash.(Jan. 12 ,Moscow)
The team doctor of Russian first division side Neftyannik Almetyevsk was killed
and several players seriously injured when the team bus crashed on an icy road
on Saturday. The team was en route to an away game in the city of Voronezh
in central Russia.
@The Russian Ice hockey League has postponed Neftyannik's next four games
because of the accident.

News 1997-8

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