Saturday, November 26, 2005

A classic moment

Following the Manchester Monarchs' shootout loss to the Portland Pirates on Thanksgiving Eve, the usual group of suspects (myself included) gathered outside the players’ entrance to the Cumberland County Civic Center looking to score some autographs.

Though the night offered the opportunity to land quite a few top prospects, there was one particular player who drew plenty of attention.

Manchester’s Yutaka Fukufuji, an eighth–round (238th overall) draft pick in 2004 of the Los Angeles Kings, served as the backup goalie in the contest. The fact, however, that he was born in Tokyo, Japan, drew the interest and, quite humorously, produced a classic moment in my hounding career.

As he left the CCCC for the team bus, a group of young fans approached him. "Are you the Japanese goalie," they asked.

With a roll of his eyes and a quick smile, Fukufuji told them that, yes, he was the "Japanese goalie."

A minute or so later, as he was signing two pucks for me (shown above), I asked how often he heard that question.

"A lot," he said. "And you’d think (as he pointed to his face) that it would be easy to see."


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