Tokyo storms past Switzerland to capture Chiang Mai hockey tourney
In the 10-team International division, Tokyo survived sudden-death overtime against Finland's Leijonat IHC in the semi-finals with a 3-2 win to advance against the high-flying Swiss ice hockey team EHC Affoltern.
Switzerland's squad ran over the Hong Kong-based Greater China team 6-0 in its semi-final contest to reach the final.
The overtime scare seemingly fired up Tokyo, as the Canadiens burst out of the gates against the Swiss, scoring three goals on
three shots in the first period.
But the smooth-skating team from Affoltern regrouped and came on in the late stages of the first half. The Swiss got on the scoreboard on a power play, but Tokyo's defence closed the door the rest of the
way. The game ended 3-1.
In the three-team Asian division, Bangkok's Canstar beat Chiang Mai Sky Ice 3-0 to take the title at the Bully Sky Ice Arena in Kad Suan Kaew centre.
Tokyo's Rick Knox - a former East Coast Hockey League player in North America - was given the tournament's most valuable player award after dominating play with his speed and finesse. Former University of Denver star Rolf Beutel playing for Kuala Lumpur was named the most valuable defenceman, after numerous tallies on end-to-end rushes.
Finland's shifty centre Pete Suonpaa garnered the best forward honours, while Greater China's goaltender Grant Philips was given the nod as the tourney's best netminder.
While the eighth annual tournment offered spectators in Thailand's northern provincial capital of Chiang Mai fast-paced, entertaining hockey, the event also raised more than 500,000 baht (11,600 U.S. dollars) for Father Joe Maier's Human Development Foundation in Bangkok. Father Joe takes care of the city's poorest youngsters, caring for more than 200 orphaned, abused and HIV/AIDS-stricken children.
Bangkok's Flying Farang hockey team organises the charity tournament each year, with all money raised from beer and T-shirt sales, plus corporate sponsorship, going directly to Father Joe.
"The tournament was once again a complete success," said tournament organiser and Flying Farang player Kevin Hall. "We
couldn't have done it without the thirsty hockey players and sponsors like Chevron Texaco."
The next international ice hockey tournament in Asia will take place February 20-23 in Singapore.
For further info contact Father Joe or the HDC at:
3757/15 Sukhumvit Rd
Soi 40, Phra Khanong
Bangkok, Thailand 10110
Tel: (662) 392-7981, 381-1821 Fax: (662) 391-4968
or visit Scott Murray's web page at http://www.scottmurray.com for more information.