Rivalry in the R.o.K.
Today: The Hateful 68th game
On 9/24/2005, at 16:00, a standing room crowd of 2,015 spectators jammed into the Anyang Sports Complex Arena to witness the first of 67 games between Anyang Halla and Kangwon Land/High1. The rink was full of energy as we waited for the puck to drop.
At 16:11 the puck dropped and the war began! It didn’t take long for the players to get their hate on. Halla’s weapon of choice was sticks and Kangwon Land went with elbows. Refs didn’t blow many whistles, like they blow now and more than four hours later at 20:30 Halla stood triumphant with a 5-3 victory.
Now in the eleventh year of the rivalry, only two players remain from the first clash. High1’s Song “The Korean Rocket” Dong-Hwan was wearing a Halla jersey on that day when he assisted on the first goal scored by Kim Kyung-Tae, and Son Ho-Sung was a rookie goalie for Kangwon Land witnessed it from the bench. He wasn’t sitting for long though as Park Joon-Won allowed 2 more goals on 7 shots in just over 15 minutes of play. Son got his first taste of Asia League action and allowed 2 goals on 18 shots and took the loss. He went on to be the starting goalie for Kangwon Land until becoming Halla’s starter in 2007-08 and has been with the team ever since.
Song is on track for 21 goals and 50 points in 47 games for the 2015-16 season at the ancient age of 35. He’s also the current all-time leading scorer in Asia League history with 453 points in 377. The other participant in this old battle, Son, (Son Ho-Seung, as his name was spelt in the the old language of 2005-06) is fourth in all-time games played with 216 at the old age of 33.
Neither player shows signs of slowing down.
As for the series, Halla has dominated, winning 6 of the 10 ten season series while losing 2 and splitting 2. High1 is 12-1-20 all-time in Anyang as a visitor as they have also played a few home games there too, like they will next weekend. Overall Halla is 42-2-23 against High1/Kangwon Land.
The teams have only played 7 games in January with Halla holding 4-3 advantage. The last time was 1/10/2010 when High1 defeated Halla 6-4 in Chuncheon.