January 27, 2014
The Rise of Korean Hockey?
While the Sochi Olympics will dominate the international hockey story in 2014, watch for the possible rise of Korean hockey in later months.
Why? Because they are importing Canadians to play for them, including a former NHL player.
Defenseman Bryan Young, who played 17 games with the Edmonton Oilers in 2007 and 2008, and his cousin Michael Swift, have been starring in the Asian Hockey League for a few seasons now. They have recently undertaken the naturalization process to become Korean citizens and have been cleared to play for Korea at the 2014 World Championships in April.
Young and Swift join Brock Radunske who skated for Korea last year. In fact, Radunske is the first non-Korean born athlete to represent the country in any sport.
Korea currently ranks 25th in the world in hockey. The country is under a lot of pressure to improve by the 2018 Olympics when the games are hosted in Pyeongchang.
The Koreans will participate against Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Ukraine and Japan in their bracket of the 2014 World Championships. The top two teams will be promoted to the top bracket which features Canada, Sweden etc.