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Women’s hockey team heads to the United States

Korea’s women’s national ice hockey team will play friendly games against top college teams in the United States starting next week, the sport’s national governing body announced Friday.

The Korea Ice Hockey Association said the women’s team will depart for the U.S. on Sunday for a three-week training period. Led by Canadian head coach Sarah Murray, the national team will face NCAA Division I teams to tune up their skills for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

Korea will first meet Murray’s alma mater Shattuck-St. Mary’s under-18 team on Thursday, and then play against teams from the University of Wisconsin, Bemidji State University, St. Cloud State University, the University of Minnesota and Ohio State University before returning home Sept. 29.

The Wisconsin Badgers and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are considered powerhouses in U.S. women’s collegiate ice hockey.

The Badgers won three straight Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) championships. The WCHA is regarded as the best women’s ice hockey conference, with its teams winning every NCAA Women’s National Championship from 2001-13.

The Golden Gophers are six-time NCAA tournament winners and they have only missed the final once - in 2014 - in the last five years.

Korea’s women’s ice hockey team is in Group B at the PyeongChang Olympics, along with Sweden, Switzerland and Japan.

After completing their schedule in the U.S., the team will take a two-week break then return to training at the National Training Center in Seoul in mid-October.


2018 Paralympic torch relay will kick off on March 2

The torch relay for the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics in Korea will start in March 2018, the event’s organizers said Friday.

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (Pocog) said the Paralympic flame will first be lit in five Korean regions - Anyang, Nonsan, Gochang, Chungdo, Cheongdo and Jeju Island - on March 2 and the lighting of the fire will also take place in three other cities including Stoke Mandeville in Britain, the birthplace of the Paralympics, the next day.

Under the theme “Center of Shining,” the organizers said the eight flames will be united on March 3 at Seoul Olympic Park’s World Peace Gate, where the first Paralympic torch relay started in 1988.

The torch will then begin a five-day tour through cities and counties in Gangwon, where PyeongChang is located. The torch relay will cover 2,018 kilometers (1,254 miles) in distance, signifying the year in which the March 9-18 Paralympics will take place. The Pocog and its partners will select torchbearers after receiving applications later this month. The selection process is expected to be completed by February.

The design of the Paralympic torch is inspired by the host city PyeongChang, located some 180 kilometers east of Seoul. The organizers said the torch is 700 millimeters (2.2 feet) in length, which represents the altitude of PyeongChang, which sits 700 meters above sea level, and its color is white to embrace snow and ice.

The slogan for the torch relay is “Let Everyone Shine,” the same slogan used for the PyeongChang Olympic torch relay.

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