Members of the ice hockey team from the DPRK are in South Korea. They will be training for their newly-formed unified Olympic team. There are high hopes this goodwill gesture will extend beyond the Pyeongchang Games.
CGTN’s Shane Hahm has more.
The ROK and DPRK have come together and agreed to field a unified women’s Olympic ice hockey team.
They have a little more than two weeks to train before their first match.
“We are very happy that North and South can become one and participate as a joint team,” said Pak Chol Ho, coach of the DPRK women’s ice hockey team.
“In this short time, if we put our strength and minds together and prepare well for the matches, we will have good results,” Pak Chol Ho said.
All eyes will be on which players make the game roster. Building chemistry with new teammates on such short notice will be a challenge.
“In hockey, each line has different characteristics and strategies and every player has different strengths and weaknesses,” explained Choi Rak-Hoon, head coach of South Korea’s amateur Joyples Ice Hockey Club.
“Knowing how to mix the lineup is important to improve the team’s performance. That way, all five players are able to mesh and have fun in the process.”
Ice hockey is not a mainstream sport in South Korea. The country only has about 200 registered men’s players, five university teams, and three professional clubs.
For women, conditions are even poorer. But with the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics just around the corner, the sport is garnering a lot of attention – most of it off the ice.
The Joyples Ice Hockey Club hopes that the Olympics will breathe new life into the sport, carving out a new era for ice hockey in the country.