IIHF Mens U20 World Championship Team Preview
Japan return to Division 1 Group B after one season in Division 2 Group A.
They won the Gold medal and gained promotion by winning every single game and allowing just eight goals.
They have a history of struggling in this division so it’ll be interesting to see how they adapt this time around.
With a squad full of smaller players, they’ll be relying on their skill to see them through.
They are coached by Canadian born Mark Mahon who also has German citizenship.
Spent the majority of his career in Germany between the 2nd-3rd Divisions.
He’s been involved with coaching Japan at all levels since 2003-2004 including being the General Manager in 2011/12. He currently coaches the Mens senior team as well as the U20’s.
Researching Japanese hockey players is harder than you may think but here’s the low down on a few of their squad to look out for.
Jun Hashimoto is a left handed defensemen and one of the taller players in the squad.
Has been a part of the Japanese team for the past two years and registered five points in last season’s promotion campaign.
Hashimto is one of two players in the squad to play his hockey outside of Japan and is with
Mora of the Swedish League. Playing for their U20 team, he’s made 17 appearances this season.
Yu Hikosaka is an 18yo winger currently with the Topeka Capitals of NA3HL.
He leads the team with 29 points (15G/14A) in just 16 games and puts him 20th in league scoring
Before this season he was part of EC Salzburg’s junior team for three seasons.
Hikosaka has only represented his county once, back in 2011-12 and registered two points for the U18’s.
Yoshiya Yokoyama was the captain of Japans U18 team in 2011/12 and the defensemen racked up a pair of goals and assists.
In the same season he played for the U20 side in the Challenge Cup of Asia and put up eight points in just four outings.
In last years promotion campaign he again put up four points and looks a player to watch out for.
Riki Kaneko and Shosuke Kudo have been part of Japan U18 team for the last two season both wore an “A” in the last campaign.
Also stepping up to the U20’s for the first time is left handed forward Shigeki Hitosato.
Just one campaign with the U18’s saw him register four points in five outings.
Listed as 5’6”, he would be the smallest player on the team.
Kazakhstan Men’s U20 Team http://wp.me/p2gDti-9I
Ukraine Men’s U20 Team http://wp.me/p2gDti-9N
Italy Men’s U20 Team http://wp.me/p2gDti-9T
France Men’s U20 Team http://wp.me/p2gDti-a4
GB Men’s U20 Team http://wp.me/p2gDti-ab