Charlotte’s Ito Becomes Second Japanese Player
To Score In ECHL

Japanese defenseman Kengo Ito, who is a regular on the Japanese National Team and regarded as the top player in Japan, made his North American professional debut on Friday finishing +1 in Charlotte’s 6-2 loss at Florida. Coming to Charlotte from the Nippon Paper Cranes of the Japanese Hockey League, Ito became only the second Japanese player in ECHL history to score a point when he scored a shorthand goal in the Checkers 3-2 shootout loss on Saturday. The first Japanese player to score a point was Takahito Suzuki, who had 49 points (24g-25a) in 72 games as a rookie for Charlotte in 2002-03. Daisuke Obara became the fifth Japanese player in the league when he played for Peoria earlier this season. The other Japanese players in the ECHL were Cincinnati’s Yutaka Fukufuji, who became the first Japanese-born goaltender to play in the ECHL in 2002-03; Hiroyuki Miura, who played six games with the Wheeling Thunderbirds in 1993-94; and Hideji Tsuchida, who played five games with Dayton in 1996-97.