POSTED: September 20th 2014

Korean Men's and Women's National Ice Hockey Teams Punch Ticket to Pyeongchang 2018

MARISSA FLANDERS / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Congress has decided to grant the Korean men's and women's national teams an automatic entry into the ice hockey events, which will be held on their home ice at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

René Fasel the IIHF President stated, "After careful deliberation and discussions with the IOC and the Korea Ice Hockey Association (KIHA), we have decided to grant an automatic qualification to the men’s and women’s national teams for PyeongChang 2018."

This decision was made during the 2014 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress in which the KIHA presented a four-year comprehensive plan to magnify the development of the men's and women's teams. The plan is backed by many strong supporters such as the IOC, the Korean government, and national sponsors. Along with the KIHA they have pledged an investment of over $20 million to the program leading up to the Games.

The KIHA also plans to put together annual exchange programs for their players and to include the world's top hockey organizations and leagues. Along with these plans there will be a huge push towards increasing the number of international and domestic games for the national team.

Korean men's national team's head coach Jim Paek said, "Korean hockey has been working for a long time for this opportunity, and to have this presented to us today is overwhelming," he continued by saying, "I don’t want to make any promises but as long as we focus on the process every day to get better I think we’ll be very competitive and hopefully we’ll represent the country well."

As for the women's national team, there have been a number of overseas training camps in the works for the team, a National Team Development Program, and a plan to grow the domestic women's league.

Fasel commented, "The IIHF is confident that, given the sizeable investment into the men’s and women’s programs, along with the changes in the KIHA’s structure and operations, Korea should have a chance to show the world it is capable of competing at the highest level of international hockey."

Paek went on to state how great this is for Korean hockey, "This is a winning situation for Korean hockey," Paek continued on by saying, "I believe that when you have success people will gather to that and gain interest in the game, and to be a part of these Olympics is a big motivation for us."

The Korean men's and women's national teams have stamped their ticket to PyeongChang. So what is next?

Paek used one word, "Prepare," he went on to explain, "We’re behind the eight ball in a sense, because to build a national world competition team takes time and we only have a short period of time, so we need a strategy and a plan to maximize our potential."

The Games will take place from February 9th through the 25th of 2018. The format for the hockey competition is set, but the Korean teams will be seeded last.

Keywords · IIHF · IOC · Pyeongchang 2018 · Rene Fasel · KIHA · Jim Paek · Ice Hockey · Olympic Winter Games

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