Month: December 2018

Malaysia’s U20 triumphs again


By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

One year ago Malaysia hosted the IIHF Ice Hockey U20 Challenge Cup of Asia as the first IIHF-sanctioned event in the brand-new Malaysia National Ice Skating Stadium at the outskirts of the capital of Kuala Lumpur and finished the event in first place ahead of Kyrgyzstan. During the weekend history repeated.

Having the first full-size ice rink has benefitted Malaysia. Since men, women, adults and juniors can practice and play at the first full-size ice rink of the country, the national teams have improved in international play and won all three Challenge Cup of Asia tournaments they played in – a program aimed at the IIHF’s smaller Asian members not competing in World Championship events.

The Malaysian U20 national team continued the winning streak by winning this season’s IIHF Ice Hockey U20 Challenge Cup of Asia on home ice.

The first to game days proved to be easy with a 14-3 victory against the United Arab Emirates and a 12-2 win in the neighbouring clash against the Philippines. Last year’s runner-up Kyrgyzstan was equally successful beating the Philippines (13-2) and the United Arab Emirates (12-3) with clear margins.

Saturday night’s deciding game was a nail-biter. The Kyrgyz outshot the hosts in each period but ill-discipline made their life difficult. Rafel Zichry Onn Mohammed Rhiza opened the scoring for Malaysia after already 22 seconds when Nikolai Magiev was assessed a match penalty for kicking an opponent. The Malaysians capitalized on the five-minute man advantage with the 2-0 goal from Ilhan Mahmood Haniff.

Kyrgyzstan didn’t give up and cut the deficit in the first period with a Andrei Triskhin goal. And had the chance to tie it up early in the third period. Zhanbolot Tagayev missed out on a penalty shot at 1:13 when Vinodraj Sundram blocked the puck with his hands but 46 seconds later Ernazar Isamatov tied it up.

Malaysia got chances for the lead when Tagayev was assessed penalties first for interference and later for checking to the head and neck area. 74 seconds later Nurul Nizam Deen Versluis scored what would become the game-winning goal at 11:08. With five seconds left Chee Ming Bryan Lim scored the 4-2 goal into the empty net.

In a game for third place the Philippines avenged last year’s loss against the United Arab Emirates and won the game 7-6. The Filipinos fought back from a 6-4 deficit in the second half of the third period. The game-winning goal from Benjamin Jorge Imperial came with 83 seconds left in regulation time.

Malaysia’s Mohammad Hariz Mohammad Oryza Ananda (8+6=14) and Chee Ming Bryan Lim (7+5=12) led the tournament in scoring before Emirati forward Mohamed Alkaabi (7+2=9) and a trio from Kyrgyzstan: Ersultan Mirbek Uulu (5+3=8), Zhanbolot Tagayev (5+3=8) and Sultan Ismanov (4+4=8). Lim won the Most Valuable Player award while Alkaabi was named Best Forward. Ernazar Isamatov was selected as Best Defenceman while the Philippines’ Jaiden Mackale Roxas won the vote for Best Goaltender.

Saturday’s game ended the U20 Challenge Cup of Asia that was played the whole week in two separate divisions.

Overall Ranking:
1. Malaysia
2. Kyrgyzstan
3. Philippines
4. United Arab Emirates
5. Thailand
6. Mongolia
7. Indonesia
8. Kuwait

The IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia continues with the men’s and women’s senior categories in spring.

The 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia for men’s teams will take place at the same venue in Malaysia from 2-9 March 2019. The tournament will be played in two groups where the top-two Group B teams will have the chance to play a playoff game against the bottom-ranked Group A teams similar to the format known in the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. Defending champion Mongolia, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia are seeded in Group A while Macau, Indonesia and Oman play in Group B.

The 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia will be played 14-19 April 2019 in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The top-division tournament includes Chinese Taipei, New Zealand U18, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore while the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, India, Mongolia and Kuwait will play the Division I tournament. For Mongolia and Kuwait it will be the first participation’s with a women’s national team in IIHF play.

Thai score high

By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

The IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia program started with two U20 tournaments for the smaller Asian programs held this week at the Malaysia National Ice Skating Stadium outside of the country’s capital of Kuala Lumpur.

The eight teams play in two separate divisions. While the top division is going on with Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines, the Division I tournament has already ended with Thailand as the winner.

The Thai won all three games in their group with an impressive goal record of 54-1 to show they want to play at a higher level next year. Their most narrow game was the first one, a 14-1 victory against Mongolia. After a 15-0 blanking of Indonesia the day after first place was already locked for the Thai even before ending the tournament with a 25-0 win against Kuwait.

The top 12 scorers of the tournament were all Thai led by 17-year-old Nathaphat Luckanatinakorn with nine goals and five assists in three games, who was named Best Forward of the event. Mongolia’s Sumiyabazar Byambajav followed in 13th-place as best non-Thai scorer with four goals and one assist.

Thailand’s Chayutapon Kulrat was voted Best Defenceman while Kuwait’s Ahmad Alsaegh won the award for the Best Goaltender. He had three busy games facing 182 shots, almost the same number that all other goaltenders faced combined!

Mongolia recovered from the opening-day loss and moved up to second place. The Mongolians beat Kuwait 9-2 before winning 3-1 against Indonesia in a game for second place. The team dominated the game with 39-16 shots on goal and decided it early with a 3-0 first-period lead. Indonesia finished in third place thanks to a 10-3 opening-day victory against winless Kuwait.

Seattle NHL expansion approved by Board of Governors

By Dan Rosen – NHL.com

Seattle is home to the NHL’s 32nd franchise.

The NHL Board of Governors voted Tuesday to approve the expansion application from the NHL Seattle group to bring the yet-to-be-named team into the League for the start of the 2021-22 season.

In addition, the Board of Governors approved a realignment package that calls for the Arizona Coyotes to move into the Central Division, making way for the new Seattle team to play in the Pacific Division.

There are eight teams in the Pacific Division, including the Coyotes. There are seven teams in the Central Division.

The Coyotes will remain in the Pacific Division until Seattle enters the League.

Seattle’s ownership group, led by David Bonderman, private equity CEO, will pay a $650 million expansion fee, $150 million more than Bill Foley and his group paid to bring the Vegas Golden Knights into the NHL for the 2017-18 season.

The Seattle team will play at Seattle Center Arena, the former KeyArena which is scheduled to undergo a privately financed $700 million renovation. The project was waiting for NHL approval of the expansion team before it could begin. The capacity for an NHL game at KeyArena will be about 17,400.

KeyArena opened in 1962 and was the home of the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics from 1967-78 and 1985-2008 prior to them relocating to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season.

The ownership group is also scheduled to pay approximately $75 million to build a 180,000-square foot practice facility with three ice sheets in Northgate, a shopping area in the northern part of the city.

The arena and training facility are scheduled to be completed in advance of the start of the 2021-22 season.

The Seattle ownership group was hopeful to have the 2020-21 season be its inaugural season, but beginning in the 2021-22 season allows for completion of arena renovations.

Seattle will follow follow the same rules for the 2021 Expansion Draft as Vegas did in 2017, but Vegas will be exempt.

The NHL authorized the Seattle ownership group to file an application for an expansion team at the Board of Governors meeting in Manalapan, Florida a year ago.

A season-ticket deposit drive was held March 1, securing 10,000 deposits in the first 12 minutes and 32,000 in the first 31 hours. There is a waiting list of about 10,000 names.

The NHL Seattle group presented its plan for the franchise the Board’s Executive Committee at its meeting in New York City on Oct. 2. The committee gave a report in the Board meeting Tuesday prior to the vote.

Although Seattle has never had an NHL team, the Seattle Metropolitans, who played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1915-24, won the Stanley Cup in 1917, defeating the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey Association 3-1 in a best-of-5 series.

World Juniors: Hungary Junior Hockey News

By Kerry Jackson – JuniorHockey.com

When the Division I Group B International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships begin later this week, no team is likely hungrier to win than the Hungarian squad, which was relegated from Group A after going winless in five games last year, scoring only 11 goals and allowing a group-high 25.

The teams of Group B in Division I begin play Saturday in Tychy, Poland. Hungary will open against Japan, which was promoted from Division II Group A after ripping through Group B with four regulation wins and one overtime victory.

This year’s team would probably like to lean on 1999 forward Zsolt Szalma, who scored three of the team’s 11 goals in 2018, and finished with four goals and two assists combined in nine international junior games last year. But he’s been less effective in international play this year, with only a pair of assists in seven games.

Hungary’s top offensive threat in international junior play leading up the WJC has been right wing Natan Vertes, a 2000 who has eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games. Forward Akos Mihaly, a 1999, has three goals and two assists in seven international games while 1999 forward Hunor Csaszar has recorded five points, all of them assists.

Four players have totaled four points in international junior play. 1999 center Balint Horvath was able to reach four points (three goals, one assist) in just three games. 1999 forward Bruno Kreisz needed five games to reach four points, scoring a pair and helping on two more. Marcell Revesz, a tall (6’4”) forward, has three goals and an assist in eight games. Nandor Fejes, a 1999, leads all Hungarian defenseman with a goal and three assists in six games. Mate Seregely has only two points, both assists, but the 2000 blueliner recorded those points in just three games.

Hungary should probably be expected to play well in the WJC, if its performance in the Friendly International tournament is any gauge. The U20 team beat France, a Division I Group A squad, 4-3 on Nov. 10. Horvath had a pair of goals in that game, including the game winner in overtime. Three days earlier, the Hungarians beat Italy, which will be in Group B, 6-2, with two goals from Revesz and one from Horvath. The team’s only loss was a one-goal defeat to Slovenia, also in Group B. Vertes netted a pair in that one.

Q & A With Sam Uisprapassorn

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

We caught up with Sam Uisprapassorn coach of Colombia national ice hockey team and Chapman University hockey. Sam has guided Colombia to Pan American gold and most recently the Latam cup Championship

Can you tell our audience little bit about yourself and your hockey background?

I grew up in Southern California, the son of a Thai father and Colombian mother. I was 8 years old when Wayne Gretzky became an LA King and once I saw the games on TV I knew I wanted to give the sport a shot. I started playing at Paramount Iceland which is actually down the street from where Zamboni is headquartered (fun fact). It seems as I lived on the ice from there on out playing pee wee through my College years.

How does the Coach of Chapman University hockey team end up coaching the Colombia national ice hockey team?

I believe I have the best coaching jobs in all of hockey. I get to coach my alma mater and the national team that is culturally so close to me.

I saw that there was a Colombian national team that had participated in the first Pan-American hockey tournament in Mexico City in 2014. I sent the team an email offering to help in any way possible. A few months back went by without a response and then one day I got a call that the Head Coach position was open and it all goes from there.

You have had success with Colombia winning the Pan American tournament twice and now the Latam Cup. What do you tribute your success to?

I give our players all the credit for the success I have had with this team. I have been fortunate to work with a group of players who have won as a group playing roller hockey or individually at the College or Junior level on the ice. When I took on the role of Head Coach I came in with a clear direction and systems that I wanted to implement offensively, defensively and the player bought in and executed shift in, shift out. I’m proud of our players for taking this approach and it’s the main reason for our success.

 

Colombia is a very new to the game of ice hockey how would you judge the talent on the team?

Our group is made up of Colombian players based in the US, Sweden and Colombia. Our players from Colombia have to be some of the most talented I have seen throughout my coaching career. This is a big statement since there is no regulation size hockey rinks in the entire country. The skill development through roller hockey is very evident.

About a third of our team is based in the US and this has really helped bring our team along. It’s an advantage to have players out of the ACHA and ECHL.

What are the challenges for the advancement of ice hockey in Colombia?

I would say the biggest challenge is developing the ice hockey infrastructure. As I mentioned before, there are no ice rinks in the country. The same could be said for the other countries we compete against.

Chapman University Hockey team is not having a great season, do you think you can turn the season around?

The Chapman program is currently in a rebuilding phase. I would expect better results by the end of the season and beyond.


You are also a Golf nut and the founder and CEO of Cut Golf can you tell us little bit about this adventure?

I love golf as much as I love hockey. About two years ago decided that having to pay $35-50 for a tour quality golf ball was insane. Started doing some research and was able to find a way to launch Cut Golf where we offer a tour quality golf ball for under $20 ($19.95 to be exact). It’s absolute blast and I lead our organization more like the captain of a hockey team versus your typical CEO.

who are some of your favorite Ice hockey or inline players?

I’m very old school. I grew up idolizing Wayne Gretzky. Brendan Shanahan, Luc Robitaille, Eric Lindros and Steve Yzerman were some of my favorite players growing up. They just don’t make them like that anymore.