Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Monica McAlister on 04/26/14 at 05:20 AM ET
With a tournament currently underway in Goyang, Korea and Coordination Committees already meeting about the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics the interest in ice hockey in Korea is on the rise; thus IIHF President René Fasel and IIHF VP Thomas Wu met up with the media in Goyang on the final day of the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A competition.
René Fasel on his first impressions and hockey in Asia:
I thank the Korean Ice Hockey Association for organizing the tournament. It was a good test for Korea to have this tournament organized here. We are pleased to have the Olympic Winter Games in 2018 in Korea. We put a lot of effort in Asian hockey with Thomas Wu as our Vice President and our Asian office in Hong Kong with Harald Springfeld. We have 17 members on this side of the world and we are doing the best we can to develop our sport in Asia.
It is great to see the sport grow outside of North America and Europe and games like IIHF tournaments and the Winter Olympics help with that growth - especially when the worlds best players are involved. As of now the NHL has not agreed to an Olympic break. What does this mean for the 2018 PyeongChang games?
René Fasel on Korea participating in the 2018 Olympics:
It’s the wish of the federation that the host team can participate in the Winter Olympics. That’s a goal and that’s why we are here but we have to be careful not to have lopsided results too. That’s a challenge especially if we have NHL players coming. There’s no sense for the Korean team to be in PyeongChang and lose 15-0 against Canada, the USA or Russia.
The Korean team is on a good road although people are disappointed they couldn’t perform as expected here but we will have meetings about that. Our recommendation to the Korean Ice Hockey Association for a free entry is that the men’s national team needs to be 18th or better in the World Ranking. But there are still different ways to go. They can go through the qualification or they could have a free entry. But they need to improve and present a program that can fit.
The road to PyeongChang is three-and-a-half years and it’s a challenge. We are here to do everything possible that Korea can compete. We have a good team with President [Mongwon] Chung. We are not there yet but they work very hard.
We need to have this discussion with the Koreans and the IOC and to discuss with the responsible people how we can improve Korean hockey. I’m confident that Korea will improve. You are fighters. But you need to work very hard. It’s not just for PyeongChang, Korea needs a 10-year program and now China is bidding for 2022 too. You need time to develop and time is flying so fast.
Read the entire transcript here.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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