The Asia League of Hockey (ALH) is always a welcome host for Ontario Hockey League grads and 2014-15 looks to be no exception. OHL Alumni Chad Wiseman and Eric Regan will play in the expanded league that now has teams in four different countries. Regan is returning to the ALH for his second season but with a new team. Wiseman moves over from Sweden’s Division 1.
Wiseman played three years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1998-99 to 2000-01 with the Mississauga IceDogs and Plymouth Whalers. He was a third round pick by the IceDogs at the 1998 OHL Priority Selection, 42nd overall and was traded to the Whalers 30 games into the 2000-01 season. With the 2000-01 Peter DeBoer coached Whalers, Wiseman helped Stephen Weiss and the boys reach the Robertson Cup finals before falling to the Ottawa 67’s in six games.
The San Jose Sharks took Chad in the eighth round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, 246th overall. He has played pro hockey since 2001-02 in the AHL, NHL, Germany’s DEL and the Division 1 in Sweden. His time in the NHL was limited to nine regular season and one playoff game. Wiseman played four games with the Sharks in 2002-03 and four more with the New York Rangers in 2003-04. In 2005-06, he appeared in one game for New York during the regular season and one more in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
A veteran of 603 regular season American Hockey League games, Wiseman played for Ostersunds IK in Sweden’s Division 1 for the 2013-14 season. Division 1 is tier 3, behind the SHL and Allsvenskan. He is signed with the Nippon Paper Cranes for the 2014-15 season.
The Nippon Paper Cranes have existed in some form since 1949. The team plays home games at the Kushiro Ice Arena in Kuskiro, Japan on the island of Hokkaido. The venue seats 3,000 and opened in 1996. The city of Kushiro has a population of around 185,000. The Paper Cranes were ALH champs in 2006-07, 2008-09 and 2013-14. They reached the finals in six straight seasons from 2004-05 to 2009-10. This past season, the Paper Cranes placed third in the eight team league and beat the Oji Eagles in the finals to capture the championship.
Regan played four years in the OHL from 2004-05 to 2007-08 with the Erie Otters and Oshawa Generals. Eric was a third round pick by the Otters at the 2004 OHL Priority Selection, 51st overall. He was traded to the Generals 25 games into the 2005-06 season.
Undrafted to the National Hockey League, Regan has played pro hockey since 2008-09 in the AHL, ECHL, Germany’s DEL and the ALH. His top season to date came in 2010-11 with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL. Over 54 games, Eric scored 13 goals and assisted on 28 for 41 points while being named the ECHL Defenseman of the Year. That year, Regan also appeared in 12 AHL games with the Syracuse Crunch.
In 2013-14, Regan played for the Nippon Paper Cranes of the ALH and won a championship with the club. For the 2014-15 season, Eric will play for High1. His new team plays home games at the Goyang Sport Complex Arena in Goyang, South Korea, a 3,000 seat venue that opened in 2004. The franchise dates back to 2004 and has yet to reach the ALH finals. This past season, High1 placed fourth of eight, losing in the semi-finals.
Asia League of Hockey
The ALH has operated in its present form since 2003-04. For 2014-15, the league expands from eight to nine teams with the addition of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. This is a city of 182,000 on the Russian island of Sakhalin, just north of Hokkaido. Sakhalin is a large island that runs north/south about a 1,000 km along the coast of Russia.
With the addition of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the ALH now has teams in four different countries. Along with Russia, Japan and South Korea, the league also has one team in China. China Dragon plays out of Shanghai and has been in the league since 2009-10. That first year, Dragon won just one game and haven’t won another since. OHL grad Brett Parnham played with the club for part of 2013-14.
In 2013-14, each team in the ALH played a 42 game schedule. That format is subject to change for the upcoming season with a nine team league.