- Popular Japanese craze makes its debut Jan 28- 29 -

SASKATOON, SK, Jan. 18 /CNW/ - Japanese for "snow battle", the Yukigassen craze has finally crossed the ocean. What started out as a wild idea to stage an organized snowball fight has snowballed into North America's first official Yukigassen tournament.

The (snow) ball starts rolling when the tournament arrives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on January 28 and 29 - the first of a series of two wintry matches that will take place in Canada.

Created more than 20 years ago in Japan, Yukigassen -  pronounced you-key-goss-en - is the ultimate competitive winter sport, sanctioned by Showa-Shinzan International Yukigassen and played in accordance with the sport's official rules and national governing body "Yukigassen Canada". 

Much more than just child's play, Yukigassen is played in 3 periods on a snow court 40 metres long.  Each team consisting of 7 players receives 90 snowballs in a period, and opposing players who are hit with a snowball are considered "out".  Aside from protective gear, the only piece of sports equipment needed is the "snowball", which is made under the strict supervision of match officials and must be precisely 6.5 to 7 cm each. 

Unlike traditional snowball fights that end when someone gets in trouble, in Yukigassen, a team wins a period when they have eliminated all members of the opposing team, or if/when they capture the other team's flag. And unlike the snowball fights of youth, they'll be no detention or punishment at the end of these matches.  In fact, winners will compete in the ultimate "snow-down" at the Canadian championships in Edmonton in March, and have the opportunity to represent Canada at the World Yukigassen Championships in Japan.

"Yukigassen brings back the glory days of illegal snowball fights and snow forts in the yard," says Cheri Hamilton, Saskatoon Sports Tourism. "Saskatoon is thrilled to be hosting the first official Yukigassen match in Canada - after all, who among us hasn't wanted to throw a snowball at a friend or colleague in the spirit of healthy competition?" 

SOURCE Punch Canada

For further information:

Katherine Griggs
PUNCH Canada
416-360-6522 ext. 237

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