Unified Korean ice hockey team takes shape as players meet for the first time
On Thursday, the 12 ice hockey players from the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) crossed the border into the Republic of Korea (ROK) and were welcomed by their teammates from the NOC of the ROK at the training facilities in the southern region of the country.
Wearing their red, blue and white uniforms, they were presented with a bouquet of flowers by their new teammates and the team’s Canadian coach, Sarah Murray, during an outdoor welcome ceremony, before they joined the 23 players selected for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 from the ROK for a group photo shoot, when they all shouted “We are one!”
On 20 January, the IOC decided to allow the two NOCs, for the first time in their Olympic history, to form a unified team in a sport. This unified women’s ice hockey team is created by adding 12 players and one official from the NOC of the DPRK to the existing ROK Olympic squad of 23 players.
With respect to fair play and the other competing teams, only 22 players will be entitled to play in each game, as is the rule for all participating teams. The head coach, who is responsible for selecting the players, is ROK coach Murray, who will select at least three players from the NOC of the DPRK for the team for each match.
The squad is already sharing the same locker room, but Murray will hold separate practice sessions for the next few days to learn more about the DPRK’s players.
The unified women's ice hockey team will be represented by the Korean Unification Flag and will compete as Korea, with the anthem being the song “Arirang”.