Nippon Paper Cranes

The Nippon Paper Cranes are based in the city of Kushiro on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. They play out of the Kushiro Ice Arena (built in 1996, seats 2539 with room for 500 more standing attendees).

The Cranes were originally established as a company team for Jujo Paper Co. Ltd. in 1949 and continued as such until joining the professional Japan Ice Hockey League in 1974-75. For the majority of its ninteen seasons in the JIHL, the team sat in the bottom half of the six team league.

Upon being renamed the Nippon Paper Cranes in 1993-94, after a merger between Jujo Paper Co. Ltd. with Sanyo Kokusaku Pulp Co., Ltd., the team failed to take flight and finished fourth of six. The team didn’t make the playoffs until the 98-99 season when they lost in the first round to Kokudo 3 games to 2.

However, the Cranes became a perennial playoff team after that until the JIHL ceased operations in 2003-04 due to financial woes affecting the league and a contraction of the league to four teams.

The Cranes along with the other three remaining teams merged with the Korean team, Halla Winia (Anyang Halla) in 2003-04 to form the Asia League.

The Cranes won the short inagural sixteen game schedule with a top record of 13-3 and built a dynasty from 2003-04 to 2013-14 with four consecutive first place finishes and 6 straight trips to the finals. In all, the team made the playoffs for 10 season winning 3 of 7 finals.

2014-15 was the first time the Cranes failed to secure a playoff spot, but with changes to the roster and fierce determination of returning players, they are poised to return to the postseason.

Asia League Ice Hockey
2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19

Nippon Paper Cranes Roster 2016-17

3Ito Kengo 伊藤 賢吾381978-12-04D18280
4Sakata Shun 坂田 駿311987-06-13D18287
5Ebina Masahiro 蛯名 正博281987-11-24D18083
8Irikura Taiga 入倉 大雅211996-09-04F17981
9Takagi Kenta 髙木 健太231993-12-14RW18287
10Ohtsu Kosuke 大津 晃介241993-09-06F17478
11Nishiwaki Masahito 西脇 雅仁331984-10-06W178 80
17Ben Walter ベン ウォルター321984-05-11C18386
18Shigeno Shunsuke 重野 駿佑271990-03-14C19496
19Sato Hiroshi 佐藤 博史341983-02-18C18090
26Ushu Mei 羽刕 銘261991-05-02D18185
28Jeff LoVecchio ジェフ・ラベッキオ311985-08-26LW18888
31Ohshima Ryosuke 大嶋 良介301987-06-06G17780
36Takami Yokuto 髙見 翼人261991-08-23F17478
47Kubo Naoya 久保 直也321985-08-04F17576
48Ueno Hiroki 上野 拓紀311986-04-08W17880
55Casey Borer ケイシー ボラー311985-07-28D18893
61Ishikawa Hisashi 石川 央331982-09-02G18375
70Inoue Mitsuaki 井上 光明311986-07-04G17266
76Yamazaki Yuki 山崎 勇輝211996-05-08D18080
77Yanadori Shinya 梁取 慎也301986-12-15D17982
88Kazunari Koizumi 小泉 和也231993-11-10D18383
91Nakajima Shogo 中島 彰吾231993-10-26F17578
92Ikeda Ikki 池田 一騎I241992-10-27F17880
July 2019
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