Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Nikko IceBucks

This weekend we went with Friends to see the local professional hockey team, The Nikko IceBucks play a home game. They are in the Asian hockey league which has teams mainly from Japan, but also South Korea, and a few other Asian countries. This weekend they were playing A team from South Korea called Halla. Unfortunately the Bucks lost 2-1 but it was actually pretty entertaining as the fans, as with all sports here really get into it. They are still learning to be hockey fans though and In the future we plan to introduce them to the idea of drinking some beer during the game, and heckling the refs and opposing players in the penalty box, as they were a little weak in these area's. Another reason the team/game is interesting for us is because during our stay in Utsunomiya we were introduced to the head coach and a former player who is a great guy and also happens to own one of our favorite drinking spots here in town. Here's a few fotos of the rink and the game.


tornados28 said...

Wow, that's cool. Is the arena near Nikko or is it in Utsunomiya?

Heather said...

Hey tornado, youve been scarce.
The rink is actually up in Nikko-Shi, so its about 30-45 minutes away depening on route and traffic.
It was a pretty good time, and we have met and know a few of the players and the coach, so it makes it a little cooler, they are all a good bunch of guys.
There is also a Pro Basktball team here in town now called the Tochigi Brex, they will play right up the street from our appato at the Utsunomiya Community Building. We have also met several of them, thier coaches and cheerleaders as they hang at the same pub. Kinda strange drinking with a bunch of 6'5" and taller Japanese guys. Thier first game is coming in November so I'll do a post about them later. ksaul

tornados28 said...

I used to play ice hockey in L.A. How is the skill level in Japanese pro hockey compared to the West? Are there foreign players in the ice league?

Heather said...

The IceBucks currently dont have any foreigners as they barely survive each new year on their current sponsers and budget. According to thier manager they be currently shopping for some though. But the Korean team had 3 Checzks in thier lineup along with a Checzk coach.
They Hockey skill was not comparable to like a ECHL that Ive ssen in Ohio, but maybe the next level down in the states(A-League?)
One thing here is no brawling, if you drop your gloves, you get fined and suspended.Last year they I heard they were in a bench clearing fight, and so many players were suspended the coach Yashi, had to suit up and play so they could field a team for a few games. Heres a clip (try to ignore the gaijin fags commenting in the backround)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuOBz5udLfY I wasnt actually there but It looks like thier fighting could use some help, and notice a lot of them dont drop their gloves. ksaul

davidfromoz said...

Hi There,

Nice Site!

I'd like to go and see an Icebucks game. Do you happen to have a timetable of their home games?

ps. hi Jon!
pps. any recommendations for Utsonomiya Jazz scene?

Heather said...

試合 [アウェイ] = Away
試合 [ホーム] = Home

Not really down with the Jazz scene, but there is one bar we have been to called "free flight "on the east side of the station. Friday and Sat., maybe other nights they have a Piano, bass, horn, trio that seemed ok to us. Good menu nice atmosphere.
You will find it and others on this map. http://www.utsunomiya-cvb.org/en/night/index.html