April 08, 2013
Brock Radunske: A Legend In The Making?
This is Brock Radunske. The 6'4" and 200lb forward out of Kitchener was the Edmonton Oilers' 5th round pick (79th overall) in 2002, which placed him higher than the likes of Valterri Filpulla, Matt Lombardi, Frans Nielsen, Dennis Wideman and Max Talbot.
Radunske played at Michigan State University for four years before playing in the minor leagues for two seasons, mostly in the ECHL.
Then he tried to find on-ice employment overseas. He tried in Switzerland and Germany, but then, in 2008, his career took a most-unexpected turn. He became the star of Anyang Halla of South Korea in the Asian Hockey League.
Five years later Radunske has become a local celebrity of sorts. And now the South Koreans want to make him their national hockey star.
Radunske has been granted citizenship, which will make him eligible to play for the South Korean national team. It is quite the unusual move, as South Koreans do not naturalize many of their "visitors." But with Seoul hosting the Winter Olympics in 2018, the South Koreans badly need Radunske, and possibly other "imports," to help them qualify for their home Games. South Korea is currently ranked 28th overall in the world. They suspect they will need to improve at least 10 spots to participate at the Seoul Olympics.
Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star has much more on Radunske and hockey in South Korea.