19 August, 2005

Far be it for me to link anything from Bristol, but.....

ESPN.com - NHL - Japanese goalie looking to catch on in NHL

This is damn cool.

My friends, this is your next hockey area right here--Asia.

What? Stop laughing and listen to me for a moment. Russia is out of the picture now--or at least they soon will be, what with all the mobster-run Superleague teams and the Russian hockey federation refusing to sign the IIHF/NHL transfer agreement--and the NHL is going to need a new place to look for talent.

Enter the most populous region on the planet: Asia. Hockey's taking root there, kids. They play it in China (which has a professional league). They play it in Japan and Mongolia and even in Thailand (with the help of some North American expats). Yutaka Fukufuji is the first Asian-born AND raised player to be given a shot at the NHL. I'm willing to bet that in 10-15 years we may see more.