The Fujimoto siblings, goaltender Nana and defender Nachi, have signed with Färjestad BK in Sweden’s second-tier Division 1 for the upcoming 2019-2020 season. The club announced the signings on July 8.
Nachi, 28, had a stellar debut season last year with Färjestad BK that included FBK Player of the Year honors.
She scored 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 15 regular-season games. She was the team’s highest-scoring defender in the regular season and led the team in post-season scoring with three points in their three qualification matches.
Prior to moving to Sweden, Nachi spent two years in North America with the CWHL, seeing time with Les Canadiennes de Montréal and the Boston Blades.
”That Nachi Fujimoto is returning strengthens the team, and that we can now also present her sister, Nana, gives extra weight in our goal of reaching the SDHL,” FBK coach Bo Lennartsson told the team’s website.
Nana, 30, has backstopped Japan at six World Championships and two Olympic tournaments, in 2014 and 2018. She’s arguably the best-known active Asian-born and trained player and the most recognizable face of Japanese ice hockey internationally, due in part to her time in the NWHL as an inaugural New York Riveters goaltender. She was instrumental in keeping Japan in the top tier of Worlds this past April, posting a .928 save percentage over five games. Since her time in the NWHL, she’s played with her hometown team Vortex Sapporo.
Signing both Fujimoto sisters indicates Färjestad BK’s willingness to make a powerful push towards promotion next season. If they’re successful, there’s no doubt Nana and Nachi will play an important role in that process all season long.