Gangneung set to host ice hockey tournament

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Gangneung set to host ice hockey tournament

Korea will host a women’s ice hockey tournament next month to mark the first anniversary of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the sport’s national federation said Friday.

The Korea Ice Hockey Association (KIHA) said the W Nations Challenge will take place from Feb. 9 to 12 at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, 230 kilometers (142 miles) east of Seoul — the venue for hockey matches during PyeongChang 2018.

This tournament will immediately follow a men’s friendly tournament, named the Legacy Cup, featuring Korea, Kazakhstan, Japan and Latvia.
The KIHA said Latvia and Hungary will participate, while North Korea has yet to respond to Korea’s invitation.

At the Olympics, the two Koreas had a joint team of 23 Koreans and 12 North Koreans. It was the first unified Korean team in any sport in Olympic history.

The upcoming friendly tournament will be Korea’s first official competition since the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championship Division I Group B tournament in Italy last April. And it will be the head coaching debut for Kim Sang-joon, who took over from Sarah Murray in October.

The team is also going through a transition on the ice. Canadian- and American-born players of Korean descent who competed at PyeongChang 2018 have given way to teenagers who led Korea to first place at the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship Division I Group B qualification tournament earlier in January.

Among the teenagers will be Huh Eun-bee, the 15-year-old starting goalie on the U-18 team, and forwards Song Yun-ha (15 years old), Choi Si-eun (15) and Kang Na-ra (16).

Song scored four goals and had one assist in five games at the qualification event.

Captain Park Jong-ah is one of several Olympic team members, along with fellow forwards Jo Su-sie, Kim Hee-won and Choi Ji-yeon, and defenders Eom Su-yeon and Park Chae-lin.

Korea is scheduled to face Latvia at 4 p.m. on Feb. 9 and then Hungary at 3 p.m. the following day.

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