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Turning Japanese

October 6, 2006 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Corpus Christi IceRays News Release

The Corpus Christi Rayz signed their 28th and final player of the off-season on Friday afternoon. General Manager, Larry Linde announced the signing of Japanese forward, Kazuma Takahashi making him the first Japanese player to sign with the Rayz. The signing of Takahashi concludes a busy off-season recruiting process by Rayz Head Coach, Ken McRae. The 28-man roster will open Training Camp on Monday in preparation for the October 21st season opener against the Laredo Bucks.

Takahashi, 28, has played five years of professional hockey in Japan. Originally from Hachinoe City, Japan, Takahashi played two seasons in the JIHL for Seibu and then moved to the ASIA League. In 2003-2004, Takahashi played briefly for Kokudo before finding a home with the Ice Bucks. While on the Ice Bucks, Takahashi notched 47 points (23 goals, 24 assists) in 74 total games. After establishing himself as a star in the Japanese leagues, the 5'9", 180 lbs. forward is ready to make a splash in North America. McRae said that global growth of the sport has broadened the talent pool of hockey players, and led to an influx of players from non traditional markets.

"You can see throughout the world, how the game has expanded and players are coming from everywhere," he said. "Kazuma is an example of that, and we're excited to give him the opportunity to further his career thousands of miles away from home." McRae added, "Kazuma has had success in Japan and it will be interesting to see if he can translate that into the North American style of play."

Should Takahasi make the Rayz regular season roster he'd be just the second Japanese player to player in the Central Hockey League. In 2003-2004, Tomonar Takahashi (no relation) played 25 games for the Tulsa Oilers. According to Rayz scouts, Takahashi is said to possess excellent speed, great tenacity and a presence in front of the net. Prior to turning pro, Takahashi played four seasons at Waseda University, leading them to a championship in his sophomore season, and captaining the squad as a senior.

The Corpus Christi Rayz are currently in preparation for the 2006-2007 season. The Rayz return to the American Bank Center is only 17 days away. Corpus Christi will begin their season at home on October 21st vs. the Laredo Bucks at 7:05pm. Season ticket packages and corporate sponsorship opportunities are currently available through the Rayz office. Individual tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster Outlets and the American Bank Center Box Office. For more information please call the Rayz at (361) 814-PUCK or log on to

RAYZ 2006-2007 ROSTER

Jason Baird LW

Ted Bickel F

Ryan Carter RW

David Friel C

Travis George D

Ryan-James Hand D/F

Jay Hardwick D

Vin Hellemeyer F

Connor Hughes RW

Tony Johnson D

Steve Kovalchik D

Jason Lepine D

Derrick McIver RW

Matt Meacham G

Chris Mei D

Geno Parrish D

Todd Paul D

Steve Pelletier D

Adam Powell LW

Justin Quenneville C

Jamie Routledge D

Blair Stayzer LW

Kazuma Takahashi LW

Matt Turek C

Tim Vitek C

Ron Vogel G

Kevin Watters LW

Brent Zelenewich G

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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