HL Anyang’s Lee Chong-min ‘MVP’ of regular season in debut season in Asia League

HL Anyang’s rookie forward Lee Chong-min, 24, has been named the Asia League Ice Hockey Regular Season MVP in his debut season.

The Asia League Ice Hockey office announced on Sunday that Lee was named the MVP of the 2023-24 regular season after scoring 17 goals and adding 24 assists in 29 games to lead HL Anyang to its seventh regular season title. Lee is the first player to be named MVP in his debut season since the inception of the Asia League Ice Hockey program in 2003.

“Unlike my overseas league days, when I was anxiously competing for survival, I felt like I was in the arms of my family after joining the HL Anyang,” said Lee Chong-min. “I think playing with a stable mind led to good results. I want to share the glory with everyone on the team, who are like family,” he said.

Lee Chong-min has been known as a prodigy since he was in elementary school. He moved on to the Canadian junior league to pursue his dreams of success in the home of ice hockey and won the 2018-19 championship with the Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL, a prestigious league in the West Division, with 22 goals and 40 assists in 134 games.

Lee’s career was on track until 2020, when he became the first South Korean player to play at NCAA Division I Alaska-Anchorage University, but the school disbanded its hockey team due to financial difficulties. The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help save the team.

Undeterred by his success in the “big leagues,” Lee joined the Swedish league in 2021 and played two seasons before being persuaded by HL Anyang to return to Korea last year.

Lee’s contribution to HL Anyang has been more than expected. With 18 goals, he was the team’s top scorer, perfectly filling the void left by the retirement of star striker Kim Ki-sung at the end of last season.

With his explosive speed and physicality, he put opponents under intense pressure in the offensive zone and was a perfect performer on the defensive side of the ball.

In addition, Song Hyung-chul, who started all 32 regular-season games and contributed six goals and 18 assists to Anyang’s seventh regular-season title in the HL, was 바카라 named to the “Best 6” defense. He is only the second Korean player to be named to the Asia League Ice Hockey Regular Season Best Defense after Lee Don-koo (2013, 2022).

Kim Sang-wook led the league in points this season with 48 points (8 goals, 40 assists). Kim has the most career points (493) of any Korean player.

HL Anyang, which topped the regular season with 71 points in 32 games, will host the second-place Red Eagles Hokkaido (Japan) in the first leg of the best-of-five finals on Tuesday. The seven-time champions (2010, 2011, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2023), the most in the Asian League, will be looking to win their third consecutive title.


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