"The Korean men’s and women’s national teams will be competing on home ice at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeonChang, following a decision by the IIHF Congress to grant the country automatic entry into the ice hockey events.
“After careful deliberation and discussions with the IOC and the Korea Ice Hockey Association (KIHA), we have decided to grant an automatic qualification to the men’s and women’s national teams for PyeongChang 2018,” said IIHF President René Fasel.
The decision came following meetings held during the 2014 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress, where the KIHA presented a comprehensive four-year plan to intensify the development of the men’s and women’s teams. The plan has the backing of the IOC, the Korean government, and national sponsors, who together with the KIHA have pledged to invest over $20 million U.S. into the national team program in the leadup to the Games.
In addition to the financial investment, the KIHA plans to organize annual exchange programs for their players with the world’s top hockey leagues and organizations. A major effort will be also made towards increasing the number of domestic and international games for the national team.
“Korean hockey has been working for a long time for this opportunity, and to have this presented to us today is overwhelming,” said Korean men’s national team head coach Jim Paek. “I don’t want to make any promises but as long as we focus on the process every day to get better I think we’ll be very competitive and hopefully we’ll represent the country well.”
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