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New club, new rules for Asia’s hockey league

Sept 15,2009
The 2009-10 Asia League Hockey season is fast approaching and league officials have made several rule changes for the upcoming season.

The season opening series is set for this Saturday and Sunday between the two Korean rivals Anyang Halla and Chuncheon High1 at the Anyang Sports Complex Arena at 2:30 and 3:00 p.m., respectively.

The Asia League will have an expansion club this season as the Tohoku Free Blades will replace Seibu.

The Free Blades are based in Koriyama, Tohoku, Japan, but will play in several arenas in the Honshu region. The remainder of the league remains intact as the Nippon Paper Cranes, Oji Paper and Nikko Ice Bucks return to represent Japan.

Anyang Halla and Chuncheon High1 are both Korean clubs. The lone Chinese club, China Sharks, has changed its name to Dragon after it lost sponsorship from the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League.

The Nippon Paper Cranes will look to defend their title this season while last season’s regular season champs Anyang Halla figures to be a strong contender again this year. Halla lost to the Paper Cranes in the semifinals last season.

The league officials have imposed several changes for the upcoming season. The Asia League adopted a shoot-out format after five minutes of four-on-four overtime last season. The same shoot-out format will be used this year but no Zamboni break will be used prior to the start of the shoot-out and no side changes will take place after third shooters.

Other major rule changes include a two referee system and no line changes after icing.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]




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