Hockey Night in Japan

Yokohama Travel Blog

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The rink
I hate having plans when I travel but I make some exceptions and this day was one of those.  Often when I travel I make it a point to watch some hockey and I made plans to do this in Japan.  You may be surprised but there is professional hockey in Japan.  The pro hockey league in Japan may not rival the NHL but it was not the worst hockey I have ever seen.  The game I chose ot watch was between a team from Tokyo and another team from Sapporo and they played at Shin-Yokohama's Prince Hotel Skate Center. 

The play on the ice is not what I remember though.  Before the game I stood beside an American, who was working for the Sapporo team, and we talked about the fact that the NHL was still on strike.
Okay so I am Canadian. If I can find hockey I will watch it. A professional game between two Japan club teams.
  I think he was just happy to get some hockey news from North America.  Our tickets placed us directly behind one of the nets and because of the design of the rink we were basically right over the goalie at that end. 

One of the funniest things I have ever seen at a hockey rink occurred here.  During the game one of the Plexiglas sections cracked and a small piece broke off.  This type of thing happens semi often even in the big stadiums over here but how they chose to try to fix it was a novel if somewhat dangerous.  The staff came out with a ladder and I expected them to take out the broken section and place a new one in.  However one guy climbed the ladder and had another hand him the broken piece of glass.  They then pulled out a roll of what looked to be electrical tape and tried to tape it together.
Fixing the glass with tape
  As soon as the referee saw what was happening he quickly skated over and using a bit of broken Japanese and simple English (I think he was American) he told them to change the glass.  Even at the smallest rink in Canada I can not imagine the local rink manager thinking he could just tape broken glass back together and consider it safe.

Between periods I use to going to get a burger and a beer from the food stand.  If it is a modern NHL rink maybe I will grab a pizza or even some BBQ chicken.  It of course was much different at this rink.  The food was supplied by the hotel that the rink is part of so it was much better then I expected.  The food was not surprisingly full on Japanese.  I think I had udon noodles and a green tea.  Novel experience to be slurping noodle while watching live hockey.
Warming up


Even before the game we had a strange experience.  As we walked from the local JR subway station we suddenly realized we were surrounded by many white people wearing strange jerseys and they were not speaking English.  As we were way early for the game we followed them and discovered that soccer team from South America was playing another team from Europe in some sort of club championship at a nearby stadium (International Stadium Yokohama).  After walking around the outside the stadium we headed to our game in the much smaller hockey stadium.

The next day we did head into the huge city of Tokyo.  However Akiko does not really like Tokyo, I think it has to be with be from Osaka, so we did not stay long.  We did try to get a look at the Emperor's Palace but it was not possible so we just walked around the nice park that surrounds the palace.  We also found the rink my local hockey team played in, a few years earlier, which really is Yoyogi Swimming Pool.
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The rink
The rink
Okay so I am Canadian.  If I can f…
Okay so I am Canadian. If I can …
Fixing the glass with tape
Fixing the glass with tape
Warming up
Warming up
the soccer stadium
the soccer stadium
Yokohama
photo by: maka77