Trip to Japan for Italy’s sledge hockey team

A friendly between South Korea, Japan and the Czech Republic will get underway on Monday (8 February). 07 Feb 2016
Two sledge hockey players in blue jerseys on the ice

Italy v Germany at the Harborcenter in Buffalo during the 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool.

ⒸRob Marczynski
By Italian Ice Sledge Hockey team

The Italian ice sledge hockey team have arrived in Nagano for a friendly tournament against South Korea, Czech Republic and hosts Japan which gets underway on Monday (8 February).

Andrea Chiarotti, Gregory Leperdi, goaltender Gabriel Araudo, Valerio Corvino, and Claudio Zanotti have all made the journey. Andrea Macri is also on the team sheet having returned from injury.

It will be the first competitive commitment - as well as the first meeting - of 2016 for the Italian national team, who have flown to Japan without important players like Florian Planker and Werner Winkler. The Azzurri last took to the ice at the International Ice Sledge Hockey Tournament, held at the Palatazzoli in Torino, Italy, in December.

The national team will once again meet South Korea, who finished third behind the USA and Canada at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge in January. After also winning bronze in Torino, the South Koreans have proved to be in good shape and progressing technically, with two years until they host the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

The competition therefore represents a good test for Italy, who scored in the last two clashes with South Korea and will face the team in their opening game in Nagano.

The Blues then meet Japan and on Thursday (11 February) will play the Czech Republic.

The semi-final and final will be played on Friday (12 February) and Saturday (13 February) at the venue for the Nagano 1998 Paralympic Winter Games.