As the host country for the 1998 Winter Olympics, Japan has an automatic bye into the 1998 Winter Olympics. The top five countries from the 1997 World Championship also competed at the 1998 Winter Olympics, which were held in Nagano, Japan. Japan placed sixth at the Olympics.
Japan qualified to attend the first IIHF World Championship which was held in Ottawa, Canada in 1990. To qualify to attend the World Championships, Japan must win the Asian Championship. The countries that compete in the Asian Championship are China, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Korea. China claimed the Asian Championship in 1992, in 1994, and in 1996.
Japan placed as follows in international competition:
Japan placed fourth at the Pacific Rim Tournament which was held in San Jose, California from April 1-8, 1995. The 4 countries participating in the tournament were Canada, USA, Japan, and China. This link gives more information on the 1995 Pacific Rim Tournament. Here is a link to the 1995 Japanese National Team Roster.
Japan placed second at the 1996 Asian Games in February 1996. China won the gold medal, and Kazakhstan the bronze. They lost to China 9-3, but defeated Kazakhstan 6-2.
Japan placed fourth at the 1996 Women's Pacific Championship in Vancouver. Here is a link to the 1996 Chinese National Team Roster provided by the CHA.
February 8 1998: 16:00 Canada 13 -vs- Japan 0 February 9 1998: 12:00 Finland 11 -vs- Japan 1 February 11 1998: 16:00 Japan 1 -vs- China 6 February 12 1998: 16:00 USA 10 -vs- Japan 0 February 13 1998: Day Off February 14 1998: 12:00 Japan 0 -vs- Sweden 5
1997 Christmas Cup in Lyss, Switzerland: Fri Dec 26 1997: 16.00 Eröffnungszeremonie 16.30 Japan - Russland 20.00 Schweiz - Deutschland Sat Dec 27 1997: 16.30 Russland - Deutschland 20.00 Schweiz - Dänemark Sun Dec 28 1997: 16.30 Schweiz - Russland 20.00 Dänemark - Japan Mon Dec 29 1997: 16.30 Japan - Deutschland 20.00 Dänemark - Russland Tue Dec 30 1997: 11.00 Deutschland - Dänemark 14.00 Schweiz - Japan
The first women's ice hockey team in Japan was Isetan which was formed in Tokyo in 1973. The following year, Kokudo Keikaku and Silver Seals also started playing in Tokyo.
In Hokkaido which is the northern part of Japan and is called "Mecca of skating events in Japan," the Obichiro Sun Club, the Tomakomai Peregrine and the Kushiro Bears were formed in 1976. In 1978, these teams organised the first championship by themselves. Four years later, in 1981, the Japanese Ice Hockey Federatio recognized the registration of these teams and players. From 1982, this women's tournament has been held by the Japanese Ice Hockey Federation.
In 1985, Japanese teams travelled to British Columbia and Alberta to play against Canadian teams.
In 1987, the first Japanese women's all-star team was formed to play in the World Tournament. The players for this team were selected at the March 1987 Japanese Championship.
Here are a few pictures of the University of Tsukuba's women's hockey team that were taken at the 5th Annual Nortel World Ice Hockey 5's tournament in Hong Kong in 1997. The other women's team that competed in this tournament was Harbin from northern China (see player in white Jersey in bottom picture). The tournament took place at the Skyrink in Dragon Centre, Sham Shui Po, from March 5-8, 1997 and at the City Plaza Ice Palace, Tai Koo Shing.
Here is a little information about hockey within Japan. It is part of a mail message that was sent to me from Nobuya Horiuchi (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Tohoku University in Japan. He is studing civil engineering at the university. He enjoys both playing and watching ice hockey in Japan. NHL hockey can be watched on TV once a week in Japan. The following three paragraphs were written by Nobuya:
The population of Sendai is about one million and 10th largest city in Japan. Ice hockey is very popular here compared with another city in Japan. In Tokyo there are some womens' hockey teams in the universities. But I don't know about the details of them. I think maybe there are some womens' hockey leageus in Tokyo.
In Sendai there are a few women's hockey team. They are not college teams but general teams (from 18 years to 30' or 40'). Some girls who are in elementary shool or junior high school, play with boys who are the same age. Recently ice hockey is becoming more popular than before, especially women's hockey and roller hockey. There is the national team of women's hockey in Japan. I think they don't still have enough skill to play against your team. But someday you may play against them.
Next I introduce you my league (men's league). My team is "Miyagi Mets'". It is a general team and has seventeen members and one woman manager. We play against six team which are: one high school team, three college teams and two general teams. Last league from November to December in last year my team was the lowest (0W-6L). But we will do my best in the next tournament on February.
Faculty of Engineering
Another hockey player from Japan wrote the following in November 2000,
"As far as women playing in japan, it seems to be catching on. i was suprised how easy it was to find a team, though since mens hockey isnt that popular either maybe most rinks have some sort of womens program. equipment is 2-3 times more expensive than in the u.s., though team fees arent bad at all."
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