¡ã Anyang Halla will welcome defenseman Dustin Wood for his second season as a Halla. Wood was a huge part of the success on Halla's championship title. (Photo: 3.27 @ Kushiro, Japan/ Game 4 of AL Champsionship final)
The Mighty Bear Holds On To Wood for One More Season
Anyang Halla General Manager Seung-Jun Yang announced today that the club has re-signed free agent defenseman Dustin Wood to a one-year contract. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"We are extremely happy to have Dustin for one more season." Yang said. "As you saw in playoffs, he was a huge part of the team."
Wood, 29, had an impressive first season in Asia. With the Halla, Wood posted 20 points (6G 14A) and 36 penalty minutes in 33 regular season games. Wood also helped Halla winning the first ever title in post season.
"I'm happy to be as a Halla again" Wood said. "This is a great organization and I really enjoyed this league. I want to bring championship one more time. We went through a lot of adversity to become Champion and I believe we have a good chance to repeat."
"The team and the Asian League itself impressed me as soon as I came over. The hockey is very good and the players have a lot of skill. I honestly didn't really know what to expect , but the organization was very professional and everyone was great to me. I think a lot players , like myself, didn't really know about the Asian League but it turned out to be great." he adds.
6'2" 207 pound Scarborough, Ontario native spent his amateur career in the Ontario Hockey League with the Peterborough Petes. Wood made his professional debut in the 2002-03 season with the Trenton Titans of the ECHL but spent most of his career in AHL including Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Springfield Falcons, Houston Aeros and Manitoba Moose. On August 26, 2005, Wood was involved in the trade between NHL Phoenix and Minnesota. Wild traded defenseman Zbynek Michalek to Coyotaes for centre Erik Westrum and Wood.
After a five year career in the AHL, Wood spent two season with DEL's ERC Ingolstadt and Kassel Huskies. In October 2009, Wood signed with Anyang Halla for a three-month-deal to fill defenseman Jon Awe's spot. On December 16, 2009 the club extended Wood's contract for the rest of the season when fellow defenseman Brad Fast went down with knee injury.
Brock Radunske, who won 2010 playoff MVP knows how valuable Wood was for Halla. “We need him." Radunske said from Michigan, U.S. "He might have been best player on team in playoffs."
"I would say he is a hardest working player by far." Club's scout and interpreter Samuel Kim said. "He helped us in playoffs big time and he defiantly deserves this. He is one of the most respected players in locker room because of his team-first attitude and his willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done."
Wood spent most of the season paired with captain Woo-Jae Kim top line.
The club allows to carry a maximum of four imports up to 2010-2011 but will reduce to three after the upcoming season. The club now carries four imports including forward Brock Radunske, defenseman Brad Fast, Jon Awe and Dustin Wood. Long-time Halla centre Patrik Martinec retired this off-season. Martinec is expected to rejoin as an assistant coach.
In-meantime, the club also announced that nineteen Native Korean players' signing are now completed including forward Ki-Sung Kim, Woo-Sang Park, former Greenville Grrrowl winger Han-Sung Kim and 'Korean Rocket' Dong-Hwan Song. Halla winger Kyung-Tae Kim will be the only one not coming back for the upcoming season.
Sources say the deal fell apart on a Canadian goaltender from WHL who plan to get duo citizenship. The club instead look to grab former High1 goaltender Hyun-Seung Eum. Eum(25), who spent past three seasons with HIGH1, left the club this summer and currently is a unrestricted free agent. Halla's No.1 goaltender Ho-Sung Son left the club last month for 22 month of military service. The Asia League allows two passport and will not count as import as long as the player holds Japanese, Chinese or Korean passport.
NOTES: The second Asia League executive committee meetings was held in Seoul, Korea on May 13 & 14. The hot topic discussions were includes import slots for 2011-2012. The next Asia League executive committee meeting will be held in Tokyo, Japan on July 8 & 9.
Sharks to Taiwan?: Asia League sources say NHL San Jose Sharks President & Chief Executive Officer Greg Jamison and China Sharks General Manager Chris Collins officially request the league for operation an AL franchise in the city of Taipei in Country of Taiwan for the upcoming season 2010-2011. Jamison and Collins are expected to fly to Taipei to meet with all governmental parties and sponsors to secure final agreements. Sharks ended their association with the Chinese team from 2009-2010 as they pulled out all coaches and players they had sent, after two seasons(2007-2009). The Chinese Ice Hockey Association took over the team and brought in new import players and coaches to replace those lost, but won only one game out of 36 regular season games. The team also changed its name from China Sharks to China Dragon. Dragon, who finished dead last, will remain in Shanghai for upcoming season.
Off-Season Transactions: Oji Eagles signed four prospects last week including forward Kuji Shuhai, Kaneko Ryusuke, Mitamora Kohai and goaltender Narisawa Yuwota. Shuhai, a promising forward from Tomakomai, Japan, is one of the strong candidate for 2010-2011 'Rookie of the year'. The Eagles named forward Saito Tetsuya the next captain. Kuji, 23 year-old Wasea University graduate, attended NHL New York Islanders evaluation camp last year. Kuji is also expected to an another candidate for the trophy.
Eagles released three players including forward Iwata Yasunori, Oikiri Shingo, and goaltender Kyohei Tada. Eagles' long time forward Sakurai Kunihiko also announced his retirement but will remain as an assistant coach.
Nippon Paper Cranes announced club's transaction last week. Six players were released including former ECHL defenseman Pierre-Olivier Beaulieu and forward Darcy Mitani. Forward Yamano Yuu, Sato Masashi, Shuhei Tsuchizuka and defenseman Daisuke Haratake will also be looking for job next season. The club signed four college graduates while assistant coach Sasaki Hiroaki took over Aizwa Koji's position. Aizawa resigned as a head coach last month.
HIGH1, the other Korean club, announced that the club will not bring forward Alex Kim, Trevor Gallant, defenseman Jeremy Van Hoof, captain Byung-Wook Hwang, and Yoon-Hwan Kim back. Sources say the club is shopping two defenseman from American Hockey League and DEL, name Paul Albers, T.J. Kemp and Kyle Wharton however, Kemp seems to be out of hope since the price is too high for HIGH1. It is also believe to be that the club have made the offer to former Pittsburgh Penguins centre Shane Endicott who spent last season in Germany with Ravensburg Tower Stars. 6'4" 214lb Saskatoon native also spent two seasons with Oji Eagles prior to playing in Germany. Centre Tim Smith is the only import coming back from last season. Long time Cranes centre Mitani signed one-year deal along with former Halla backup Sun-Ki Kim.
Last year's new expansion team, Tohoku Freeblades released three players last month. Defenseman Nakamura Takuya, forward Kurata Ryuichi and goaltender Ito Keisuke. Sources say the club was after former LA Kings goalteder Yutaka Fukufuji, but the deal never went down since Fukufuji decides to stay in Europe for one more season. Fukufuji, a first Japanese player to appear in a National Hockey League game, is also the first Japanese citizen to be drafted(8/238, 2004) as a goaltender in the NHL and second Japanese national to be drafted. He spent last season with Tilburg Trappers in Netherlands and also played three games at 2010 world championship DIV1. Fukufuji played under Chris Wakabayashi back in Kokudo days(03-04'), who now serves as a headcoach of Freeblades.