Photography by Naz Brown

The 9-man Hong Kong Tigers certainly proved their mettle defeating the host Bangkok Flying Farangs 4-1 to take the tier one title at the City of Angels Oldtimers tournament, held this past weekend in Bangkok.

The tournament, for players aged 35 and up, was staged at The Rink, located on the 7th floor of the Central Grand Rama IX shopping mall and the Rink’s management crew did a good job of keeping the ice ready despite the heavy schedule of morning to late-night matches and Bangkok’s torrid heat, which hovered around 40 degrees Celsius at times.

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The 19-team tourney was s divided into two conferences (International and Recreational) with the International, or Elite, conference featuring six teams in two divisions (Southwest and Northwest), and the Recreational conference featuring thirteen teams spread over four divisions (North, South, East & West).

The Open Southwest Division saw the Kuala Lumpur Cobras and the Hong Kong Tigers play against the Singapore Manimals while the Open Southeast Division featured the Flying Farangs, the Dubai Mighty Camels and the Oz Grizzlys.

Recreational play saw the Flying Farang B team square off against the New Delhi Sacred Cows, the Singapore Hawkers and the Hong Kong Coors Light team in the South Division, while in the East division pitted the Toyko Canadians against the Moscow Ruby Stars and the North of 60-Niners. The North Division was made up of the Jakarta Dragons, the Jellonas Finland squad and the Singapore Rusty Blades. Recreational West saw the Dhahran Saad Falcons face off against the Beijing Capitalists and the Swiss Select 70.

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After the initial round-robin player all the teams were re-seeded and did battle for four trophies, named tier one through four. The tier four championship saw the Swiss squad defeat the New Delhi Sacred Bulls 2-0 in a close contest. The tier three championship saw Dhahran take down Tokyo 5-2.

The most exciting final was the tier two championship between the Moscow Ruby Stars and the Singapore Hawkers. Down 1-0; Singapore tied the game with 34 seconds left on the clock sending the match into overtime (four minutes long with teams skating four on four). Then halfway through the overtime the Russians scored on a beautiful slapshot from the high-slot earning the victory.

The Farangs who were undefeated heading into the Tier one final just didn’t have any jump even though they had six more skaters than Hong Kong. Aside from a brief flurry in the third period when captain Geoff McIntyre scored on a nice goal for Bangkok, the Tigers controlled the play and long time Tiger player Greg Smyth (photo above), whose brother Brad played in the NHL), lead the way Hong Kong with a hat trick and Tiger keeper Grant Phillips was very steady between the pipes when called upon. The Farangs who lost to the Finnish team, Ukkometsot, in the final last year had to settle for second overall.
The oldest player in the tourney was Swiss player Roland Schaer who celebrated his 70th birthday in Bangkok while the tourney was on.

Tournament organizer Scott Whitcomb and his team at Jogsports did a good job of running the event and the Amari Boulevard staged the closing party, which included a live band.

For more info go to www.jogsports.com

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