Durban Sandshark Posted January 6, 2015 Report Share Posted January 6, 2015 Going to be very interesting how the men's and women's South Korean ice hockey teams will fare against the best of the best, mostly Canada, the USA, and the European powers, being the second Asian nation to host the Winter Olympics outside of Japan. And how the Seoul-born 2x Stanley Cup winner Paek (with the Pittsburgh Penguins) will lead the men and run the overall KIHA program. Thanks to KIHA presenting a comprehensive four-year plan to intensify the game's development and progress in South Korea, the IIHF granted both the men's and women's team automatic entry as hosts as the last seed partly because of the need to expand and expose further awareness of ice hockey and the growth of the sport there in Asia. Like with the NHL. At least Japan had some serious international practice over the years at the top level by being at the World Ice Hockey Championships getting the sole Asian spot until over a decade. But they always finished at or near last place there. Sure there's a domestic league and an Asian League. But South Korea (and much of Asia), ranked 23rd among 49 national men's teams in the IIHF rankings, has ways to go with South Korea lacking the top level international ice hockey pedigree in its daunting task. Not like field hockey here, where there is some strong international pedigree. In short South Korean ice hockey is behind the eight ball, as Paek says, and prepare. Obviously won't be medal faves; it's also wise to focus on the grassroots too for the long terms. They just wish to be competitive with minimal blowouts. One issue I read of why South Korea hadn't been at the top level and competitive there is many of its promising players had to enlist in the military service, effectively killing any further opportunity at a time for improvement. Seems as though they always are stuck being with the Australians, the Lithuanians, Chinese, the Brits, the Kiwis, the Dutch, the Kazaks, the Hungarians, the Japanese, and the Croatians. Having an NHL player in it during this span will help, as Croatia just did in Borna Randulic with the Colorado Avalanche. That, like Anze Kopitar for Slovenia as a 2x Stanley Cup winner for the LA Kings, would be a best-case scenario in such a short amount of time. Because of that serious gap in talent, the women will get hit hard. Korean Ice Hockey Association just named its coach back in November in 27-year old Sarah Murray, daughter of NHL Hall of Famer coach Andy Murray, to a two-year contract. And her big challenge as coach like with any non-traditional and inexperienced women's ice hockey nation is building up a professionalized, competitive team and do everything involved building with the young women's program while focusing on short-term success. Good news for both is time on their side to be competitive. http://www.iihf.com/home-of-hockey/news/news-singleview/?tx_ttnews[tt_news]=9122&cHash=2c97e4185e1bbeb22d592cba80b33af4 http://www.iihf.com/home-of-hockey/news/news-singleview/?tx_ttnews[tt_news]=9182&cHash=9f024abeab1e887de0e2d92aa7d447db http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/15/sports/hockey/jim-paek-is-building-south-korean-hockey-program.html?_r=0 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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