Goyang to host int’l ice hockey contest

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Goyang to host int’l ice hockey contest

Korea will host an international hockey tournament next month in a tune-up for the Asian Winter Games, officials said Monday.

The Korea Ice Hockey Association said Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, just northwest of Seoul, will host the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge (EIHC) starting on Feb. 9. Korea, ranked No. 23, will face No. 13 Denmark, No. 19 Hungary and No. 21 Japan. A round-robin play will determine the champion.

The EIHC is a series of friendly tournaments, held during the international breaks set by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in September, November, December and February.

The tournaments have mostly taken place in Europe but have also been held in Japan. Korea will be hosting an EIHC event for the first time.

Coached by former National Hockey League (NHL) defenseman Jim Paek, Korea won a November EIHC tournament in Hungary.

The Goyang tournament will be Korea’s last competition before the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, which will start on Feb. 19. Korea will seek to win its first men’s hockey gold medal at the continental competition.

Denmark, the top seed, has played at every IIHF World Championship - open only to the top 16 hockey nations - since 2003.

Hungary will clash with Korea in the second-tier tournament, IIHF World Championship Division I Group A, in April. Korea has only beaten Hungary twice in 13 meetings, but the most recent win came in that November EIHC tournament in Hungary.

Korea will try to defeat Japan for only the second time in their 22 meetings.

Korea’s lone victory came at last year’s Division I Group A worlds in Poland.

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