NIKKO, Japan – On 11th March, during Game 5 of the Asia League semi-finals between the Nikko Ice Bucks and Korea’s Anyang Halla, a memorial service was held to pay tribute to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that happened exactly one year earlier.
On 11th March at 14:46, both clubs made a statement on recovery from the disaster. In Sapporo, the venue of the All Japan Women’s Championship Group A, a memorial service was held as well.
Anyang Halla experienced the disaster one year ago when the Korean team arrived at Sendai Airport several hours before the earthquake and tsunami devastated the airport.
At 14:46 the year before they were on the road headed to the Koriyama venue in the Fukushima Prefecture for the 2011 final series of the Asia League. Fortunately no one from Halla suffered any injuries.
In Obihiro, Hokkaido, where the All Japan Women`s Championship took place, the arena experienced a large earthquake, but no major damages or injuries. However, when participants returned, some found out they lost their homes or cars due to the tsunami.
At this year’s Championship, where the Ladies Rabbits of the disaster-stricken Sendai province participated, a donation was collected at the venue and presented to the Ladies Rabbits from the Paul Loicq Award Winner and advisor of the Japanese Ice Hockey Federation, Isao Kataoka.The victims of the earthquake were paid tribute at the All Japan Women`s Championship. Photo: Mio Inatsu
After one year from the disaster that changed the lives of everyone, there are signs of recovery. However, the hardest hit regions have a long way to go. Some regions have lost ice rinks and remain without them. Some regions have lost players, and teams still await their return due to the evacuation.
The recovery process of ice hockey in the disaster-struck regions is far away, but the regions will be back in hockey for sure. The IIHF and JIHF started a special project for the damaged Tohoku Region. Young children will have the possibility to skate and play the sport on synthetic ice in the Tohoku Area with a planned synthetic ice road-show.With files from Hideji Tsuchida (Nikko IceBucks), Aki Tatebe (JIHF) and Harry Springfeld (IIHF Asian Sport Development Manager)