2018 Club Challenge World Cup (U13 Tournament)

During Easter Holidays, our U9 HK Typhoons Selects team entered the 2018 Club Challenge World Cup (U13 Tournament) - Division B with something to prove, facing all Japanese teams in a competitive environment. The team got off to a good start, beating the Nikko Ice Bucks 3-0 with great teamwork. Next up was a match-up against the Fukuoka Selects, another convincing 5-0 win, with the group really starting to build chemistry and trust with each other. At this point a sense of belief became a part of our mindset, as the next test was a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Red Monsters Club. The team was tested in this one, running into a hot goalie and a fast skating opponent. Everyone battled hard showing heart and determination.

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With the round-robin complete, it was on to the playoff round. In the semi-finals we came out flying against the Hokkaido Club Selects, scoring 3 goals in the first 2 minutes of the game. We never looked back after that, finishing the game with a 9-0 win. This presented us with an opportunity to make history; become the first Ice Hockey team from Hong Kong to win a championship in Japan. At the start of this tournament, our goal as a group was to get better with every game, working towards the ultimate goal of winning it all. We had one more obstacle in our way to accomplish what we had set out to do.

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It was time for our date in the finals with the Tohoku Freeblades, our toughest test of the tournament but a challenge that our players were ready to meet head on. The game was tight from start to finish, with the score still 0-0 after the opening frame. Our opponent took the lead with a penalty shot during the second period and the stage was set for the comeback. Our players knew to stick with the game plan and keep battling through adversity. We came out with a purpose in the third period and took control of the game. Our players would not be denied, pushing the pace of the game and implementing an aggressive mentality, scoring 4 third period goals on their way to a championship victory, and a first for Ice Hockey in Hong Kong. A true team effort from start to finish, every player found a way to contribute and be a part of this special accomplishment. What a way to finish it all off, congratulations to our U9 group!

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Our U12s started the tournament with a tough 7-1 loss to the Junior Nikko Icebucks. The team received a lesson on proper team play. A group playing as a unit will always beat a bunch of individuals trying to play their own game. We moved on to face the Red Monsters, another loss (4-2) but we showed solid improvement in all areas. Despite this, the more organized and cohesive Japanese squad taught us another lesson. 

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After a team video session to correct our mistakes and give our players a chance to visually understand what we needed to fix, the team came out with a purpose, ready on face-offs, transitioning the puck with pace and playing as a real unit, winning 3-0 against the Fukuoka Selects. It was onto the Silver Cup Semi-finals, where we faced the Hokkaido Club Selects. It was a tight game for the first two periods, but the team came out flying in the 3rd with four goals, winning 6-0. Facing the Fukuoka Selects in the relegation finals, we came out with another strong effort, capturing a 5th place finish out of eight teams.

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This was a great weekend for everyone involved, with team bonding and relationship building off the ice, and a healthy dose of lessons and improvements on it. The Japanese teams we faced showed us what it takes to play together, to be on the same page and to work as a team. We have a lot of work to do, but that’s what we love about hockey.