Interview with Anyang Halla Scout: Samuel Kim!

Ever since we started covering the Asia League of Ice Hockey, i've sent dozens, heck HUNDREDS of dozens of emails to various teams, league offices, asking for information, prizes or just someone i could talk to about the lovely league. Well guess what friends; I finally got a response, and was put in touch with Samuel Kim, who works as a Scout and Interpreter for Anyang Halla. Not only that, Samuel hosts an NHL show on SBS Sports, a cable channel in South Korea!

Samuel was good enough to answer a couple of questions about the Asia League! Check it out!

(Makin Whoopee) Whats the Audience Like for the league? Are the fans that attend many of the games die hard hockey fans, or are they mostly casual hockey fans?

(Samuel Kim) Since the league run by three different countries(Japan, Korea, China) the fans and the audience are little different. Fans in Korea(especially in our home, Anyang) remindes me a leafs fan in ACC. They are very loud and gets into the game. Japan is different. They like to stay quiet but with little cheers. I would say casual, but well-mannered. As for Chinese, hockey is not really familier for them, but still like to cheer hard for their own team.
It's always fun travelling three different countries. Our import players love it as they don't get to travel by Air too often.

How popular are Halla and High1 compared to the Japanese teams?

Well, I would say each clubs are popular to their own country. Halla is the most popular hockey club in Korea but also well known to Japanese people. High1 joined the league only 4~5 yrs now, but the owner(mother company) is runned by popular resort company and they also sponsors other sports such as Judo, Ski, and ski jump ect.
As for Japan, Oji Eagles, Cranes, Ice-bucks, Freeblades are all important for our league too. I would say Eagles and Cranes are most popular for Korean hockey fans.

Is there a rivalry between Halla and High 1?

Yes. defenitly. Every game between Halla and High1, is sold-out. It's unbelivable atmosphere and fans go crazy. The game get intense too.

How much does the average Asia League Player make, and how much would it cost to purchase/operate a franchise in the Asia League?

It depends on each players. Domestic players gets from $25,000~80,000 (if you convert to USD) but imports makes more.

Who is the best player to EVER play in the Asia League?

Well. It's hard to say since lot of good quality players played here before. Former NHLer had good seasons including Esa Tikkanen, Zednek Nedved, Shane Endicott, and Derek Plante. Currently, I think Brock Radunske is a best player right now. He is big and has tremondous of skills. I still think that Oilers made mistake not giving him a chance to play for the big league.

How is it that China, which is a pretty proud country, has such an awful awful awful hockey team???

As you might heard before, San Jose Sharks sponsored the Chinese team until last season. But since the two parties had some dispute, Sharks pulled out. It's sad to see, but I think Sharks is looking to open an another team in China or Hong Kong (or Korea) in very near future.
The future of Asia League is not that bad !

Big thanks to Samuel Kim and Anyang Halla for responding to our email! We will definately be pressing him for more information, and, maybe, just maybe, see if we can arrange a phone interview for the show!

If you have any questions YOU'D like answered about the league, post them below and we'll Ask Mr. Kim!



  1. Collin
    You know there is a historic link from Saskatchewan to Asian hockey. Apparently in the 1930s, a team made up of players on the CN line between Saskatoon and Biggar went to Japan(?) with a team to demonstrate the sport. I heard this from Lloyd Saunders who was a sportscaster in Saskatoon for years and died several years ago. I've tried to research it, but haven't gotten far.

  2. Rod, since you pointed out the link above, here's another one: Willie Desjardins (current coach of Canada World Juniors), from Climax Saskatchewan won the Japan League championship as head coach of Seibu (JIHL) in 1996. In 2004 the JIHL became the Asia League Ice Hockey of which Anyang is now part of.

  3. Can somebody give an update on Brad Fast? Is he injured? I'm new to the leage but know that he is from MSU where I happened to meet him by chance last summer working out in East Lansing.