Taste of Home: Ice Hockey [November 1 2012]

Did you know that you can play ice hockey here in Okinawa? I spoke with Blake who plays with the Okinawa Sniperz. He gave me all the information you need to know if you want to get involved with playing ice hockey here in Okinawa. Here’s the interview.
ONK: Is this a league or simply a group of people who get together with a common interest?
Blake: It is not technically a league though there are 5 teams that play here on Okinawa in addition to a youth team.  We are the Okinawa Sniperz and the other teams are all Japanese, of which one is for females attending Ryukyu University.  We usually play 1-2 games a month against these teams, and once a year the rink puts on a Haebaru Town hockey tournament.
ONK:  Are there any requirements? (i.e. you must be 18 to play, can women play, is certain gear required)
Blake: To come out and skate you will need full gear even though we are primarily a no checking group, there is contact.  There is no age/gender/skill requirements though if you are under 18 years old you must wear a full face mask.  If you are above 18 it is up to you.
ONK:  Other than personal gear is there any cost involved? (i.e. Membership fees, cost to skate at rink)
Blake: Everytime you skate you must pay 2,500¥. Additionally if you are not SOFA status you are required to pay an annual insurance fee prior to stepping on the ice for the first time.  This fee is roughly 2,000¥.
ONK:  Is there a POC or email contact I can include if people are interested in more information?
Blake: Please use myself as the POC.  Blake Ferngren and my email.
ONK:  How would you describe the experience playing with this group? Competitive? Fun? Learning experience?
Blake: We are a team comprised of all skill levels and ages.  During games we of course are competitive but on our regular Monday night practices it’s a just a bunch of people that love to play hockey.  We divide whoever shows up in half and play pick up hockey for roughly 90 minutes.