CALGARY, AB -- Team Canada will play host to the Japanese National Team on Oct. 7 at Father David Bauer Arena in the first game of a three-game series that will take the National Team to Olds and Drumheller, Canadian Hockey announced Wednesday.
The series follows Team Canada's 10-game tour of Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, during which they have fashioned a 7-1-1 won-lost-tied record against the Manitoba Moose and Quebec Rafales of the International Hockey League and the national team from Norway. That tour concludes Thursday night when Team Canada plays Norway in Kenora, ON.
In the first four games of the five-game series against Norway, Team Canada won 5-2 in Winnipeg, 5-1 in Brandon, 4-3 in The Pas and 5-0 in Flin Flon. Canada has outscored the Norwegians 19-6 in the four games so far.
The series against Japan continues a hockey exchange, of sorts, with the Japanese National Team, which will compete as the host club in the men's Olympic hockey tournament at the Winter Games in Nagano from Feb. 7-23. Team Canada will travel to Japan for a five-game series from Jan. 11-18. During the 1996-97 season, the two national sides played 12 games, six each in Canada and Japan. The three-game Canada-Japan series has the two teams playing on October 7, at the Calgary-based Canadian National Team's home rink, the Father David Bauer Arena, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The teams will meet again on October 10, at the Olds Sportsplex, a 7:30 p.m. start, and complete the series on Oct. 11 at the Drumheller Memorial Arena, where game time will be 7:00 p.m.
"It will be great to play a home game," said Pat Conacher, a Calgary resident and the National Team's veteran leader. "We train in Calgary regularly, but this will be the only chance for our families and our fans to come out and watch us play at Father Bauer, so we're very excited about kicking off the series at home."
Team Canada general manager and associate coach Mike Johnston also announced the team had released forward Ryan Pawluk of St. Clair Beach, ON. Pawluk played for the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League last season.