Japan' s ice hockey women chase Olympic dream


Tomoko Sakagami delivered pizza in order to finance her ice handbags dreams but she’ll be hoping to earn her brown crust area in better ways whenever she takes to the glaciers as part of the Japanese women’s group at the Sochi Olympics.

Taking odd careers was the only way many women on the team could get the money with the flexible hrs needed to pursue their Olympic ambitions in a country where ice hockey, like most other sports, lives in the darkness of football and baseball.

Japan provides about 2, 100 signed up female and 7, seven hundred male players. The can certainly only previous Olympic look was as hosts in the 1998 Nagano Games where they lost all five games, scoring two objectives and conceding 45.

But qualifying for the Sochi Games, which run from February 7 in order to 23, has brought the Japanese squad, dubbed “Smile Japan, inch both unaccustomed fame and full time job offers, which could give the world’s 10th rated team the edge they need for the shot at a medal.

After they qualified to get Sochi the Japanese Olympic Committee threw its weight to their rear, helping all the players, other than students, find full time work at companies and businesses willing to hire Olympians.

“Under my new employment clause, practice time is roofed in my working hours. We are more stable financially and comfortable mentally, ” stated 28-year old goalkeeper Azusa Nakaoku, who was promoted in order to full time employee at the sports shop where she functions after Japan earned qualification.

The players need to support themselves financially but also required flexible working hrs to attend practices, training camps and games.

Pitching within

Qualification for Sochi has taken sponsorship money flowing within but prior to that, associates had to pay for their own tools and each had to pitch within 50, 000 yen ($490) when the team played overseas.

“Caring to get my body is the toughest portion of continuing to play hockey at this age, and the extra couple of hours I now have each day for chiropractic treatment or a hot bath makes a significant difference, ” goaltender Nakaoku stated.

The extra hrs to practice also translates into more time for the team’s ace forwards Hanae Kubo, 31, in order to hone her shooting abilities before Sochi.

Kubo made her national team debut in 1996 and is Japan’s all-time leading scorer with 28 objectives, but she hung upward her skates after a loss to China in their final qualification group game price Japan a place at the the year 2010 Vancouver Games.

The World Cup winning run by the Japanese women’s team in 2011 helped inspire Kubo’s return.

Captained by veteran striker Homare Sawa, “Nadeshiko Japan” outplayed a star-studded U. H. team in a nail-biting final that lifted Japan 4 months after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 03 2011.

“Sawa’s ability to score goals (at the World Cup) when it considered moved me. I wanted to return to the big stage after seeing that, ” said Kubo, who is often likened in order to Sawa.

Taken from retirement, Kubo juggled handbags with a part time job like a skating rink desk clerk. In February she assisted Japan qualify for Sochi by netting two goals in their 5-0 victory over Denmark.

Kubo as well as other players receive guidance and technical advice from associate coach Carla MacLeod, a part of Canada’s gold honor winning teams at the Torino and Vancouver Olympics that is credited with raising the team’s level of play.

She came to The japanese after the country’s ice handbags federation asked its Canadian counterpart for technical assistance.

“The federation wanted to bring in a female existence and coach and Handbags Canada put my name forward, and I came here for the first time in February 2012, ” MacLeod said.

“And now here we are, preparing for Sochi, so it’s been quite a ride. inch

Japan may play in Group B within Sochi, which also features hosts Russia, Sweden and Germany, teams that are significantly bigger in size than the Japanese players.

Despite the physical challenge, MacLeod remains undaunted. At a five-nation competition held in November The japanese took advantage of its velocity to upset Switzerland.

“I don’t think there exists a disadvantage at all in our squad. Are those teams physically bigger? Sure they are, absolutely, inch she said.

“But we have so many advantages that can combat that and replace with the difference. Our speed is a huge component. ”


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Tomoko Sakagami shipped pizza to finance the girl ice hockey dreams but she’ll be hoping to get her crust in better ways when she requires to the ice as part of the Japanese women’s team at the Sochi Olympics.

Using odd jobs was the only way many women on the group could earn the money using the flexible hours needed to go after their Olympic ambitions within a country where ice handbags, like most other sports, hails from the shadow of soccer and baseball.

Japan has about 2, 100 registered female and 7, 700 male players. The women’s only previous Olympic appearance was because hosts at the 1998 Nagano Games where they dropped all five games, scoring two goals and conceding 45.

Yet qualifying for the Sochi Video games, which run from Feb 7 to 23, has taken the Japanese squad, dubbed “Smile Japan, ” both unaccustomed fame and full time job offers, which could give the world’s 10th ranked team the edge they need for a shot in a medal.

Once they qualified for Sochi japan Olympic Committee threw the weight behind them, helping all the players, except students, discover full time work at companies and businesses willing to hire Olympians.

“Under our new employment clause, exercise time is included in my operating hours. I am more stable financially and comfortable psychologically, ” said 28-year previous goalkeeper Azusa Nakaoku, who had been promoted to full time worker at the sporting goods shop where she works after The japanese earned qualification.

The players need to support them selves financially but also required versatile working hours to attend practices, training camps and video games.

Pitching in

Qualification to get Sochi has brought sponsorship money flowing in but just before that, team members had to spend on their own equipment and each had to pitch in 50, 500 yen ($490) when the group played abroad.

“Caring for my body could be the toughest part of continuing to try out hockey at this age, as well as the extra few hours I now have each day for chiropractic treatment or a hot bath makes a significant difference, ” goaltender Nakaoku said.

The extra hours to practice also translates into more time for the team’s ace forward Hanae Kubo, 31, to hone the girl shooting skills before Sochi.

Kubo made her national team first appearance in 1996 and is Japan’s all-time leading scorer along with 28 goals, but the girl hung up her skates after a loss to China and taiwan in their final qualification team game cost Japan a spot at the 2010 Vancouver Video games.

The World Glass winning run by the Japanese women’s soccer team in 2011 assisted inspire Kubo’s return.

Captained by veteran striker Homare Sawa, “Nadeshiko Japan” outplayed a star-studded U. S. team within a nail-biting final that lifted Japan four months following the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.

“Sawa’s ability to rating goals (at the World Cup) when it mattered moved me. I wanted to return to the big stage after seeing that, inch said Kubo, who is often likened to Sawa.

Coming out of retirement, Kubo juggled hockey with a part-time job as a skating rink desk clerk. In Feb she helped Japan qualify for Sochi by netting 2 goals in their 5-0 success over Denmark.

Kubo and other players receive guidance and technical recommendation from assistant coach Carla MacLeod, a member of Canada’s gold medal winning groups at the Torino and Vancouver Olympics who is credited along with raising the team’s level of play.

She came to Japan after the state’s ice hockey federation inquired its Canadian counterpart to get technical assistance.

“The federation wanted to bring in a female presence and coach and Hockey Canada place my name forward, and I came here for the first time within February 2012, ” MacLeod said.

“And now here we are, getting yourself ready for Sochi, so it’s been a significant ride. ”

Japan will play in Team B in Sochi, which usually also features hosts Russian federation, Sweden and Germany, groups that are significantly bigger in size than the Japanese players.

Despite the physical challenge, MacLeod remains undaunted. At a five-nation tournament held within November Japan took benefit of its speed to annoyed Switzerland.

“I don’t think there is a disadvantage at all in our squad. Are those groups physically bigger? Sure they are, absolutely, ” she stated.

“But we now have so many strengths that can overcome that and make up for the difference. Our own speed is a huge component. inch