The City of Angles Ice Hockey Classic was recently held at “The Rink”, 7th floor of the Central Grand Rama IX Mall in Bangkok. A record number of teams entered this year and Singapore-based Pandoo Nation won the marquee Open Division final, defeating the Dubai Mighty Camels 1-0 in the closing minutes.
Twenty-three squads competed in three divisions: 8 teams in the +40 Rec division; 11 in the +35 Rec division; and 4 in the +35 Open division. Rec divisons 1 and 2 were then split into two divisions each after round-robin play.
The Bangkok based Flying Farangs were crowned +40 Tier I Rec (Hooters Cup) champions. (Photo/Tadamasa Nagayama)
The +40 Rec Tier II Champions were the Shanghai Red Guard who beat New Delhi Sacred Bulls 4-2. The Red Guard’s JP Grimard was the player of the game (PoG) with two goals, including the game winner. Colin Baumgartner with a goal and an assist was the PoG for New Delhi.
The +35 Rec Tier II Champions and winners of the Wheeler Cup (dedicated to former Jakarta captain Matt Wheeler) were the Sydney Hammerheads who defeated OT Interdrug 3-0, earning Bangkok-based goalie Gabor Toth a shut-out in the final game. OT Interdrug had defeated the +35 Flying Farang team in overtime of their semi-final 3-2. (Ironically, in round-robin play Bangkok had earlier defeated OT by the same score).
Sydney’s PoG was Dan Degraaf with the game-winning goal and one assist while Thai star Tewin “Tor” Chartsuwan was the PoG for OT in a losing cause.
The other Flying Farang squad, led by John Schachnovsky, were the +40 Tier I Rec (Hooters Cup) Champions as they defeated the Beijing Capitalists 2-1 on a buzzer-beating goal. The final went down to the wire as Bangkok scored when Marcel Bouwens popped home a lucky bounce in front of the net with 5 minutes left in the second period; then Beijing surged back with a 5-on-3 goal with 2 minutes left in the game before Bangkok’s Steven Sproule tapped in a rebound on a Zoltan Kosa rush with 0.02 seconds left on the clock to win it in front of the home fans.
Beijing’s Rob Gray and Bangkok’s Jason Cotsmire both played extremely well in goal. With a goal and an assist, Sproule was Bangkok’s PoG while Rob Gray with 36 saves was Beijing’s PoG.
The +35 Tier I Rec Champions were the Finland Jetlags who triumphed over the Kuala Lumpur Cobras 4-1 with Joonas Raitolahti earning PoG honors scoring a hat-trick for the winners. KL’s lone goal scorer, Martin Page, was their PoG.
Flying Farang captain John Schachnovsky (right) battle for the puck. (Photo/Tadamasa Nagayama)
Then the elite +35 Open division (the Movenpick Cup) was won by Pandoo Nation. Pandoo’s Dan Donnette scored with 1 minute left on Michael Jabri-Pickett to break a very close contest. Both ended up being their teams’ respective PoGs with Jabri-Pickett making 32 saves in a heartbreaking loss. Dubai’s Joe Taylor was injured in the game but is on the mend now.
Ex-NHL hockey player Brad Smyth played with his brother Greg for the Hong Kong Tigers. Smith played in 88 NHL games skating for the Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Nashville Predators and the Ottawa Senators (he finished with 3 goals and 1 assist in the tournament).
The Hong Kong team, which has won this tournament a few times, lost to Dubai 4-1 in one of the Open semi-finals.
The top scorer in tournament was Finn Juha Paananen who finished with 4 goals and 9 assists. Fellow Finn & Bangkok-based Jouni Heinonen was second with 2 goals and 10 assists.