Kids joined national hockey coach Jim Paek and Team Korea Ball Hockey players on a beautiful, sunshine filled afternoon for the second annual “Hockey Day Korea!” at the Jamsil Sports Complex inline rink in Seoul on Oct. 14.
HDK aims to promote awareness of hockey in Korea and most importantly, to raise money for charity, this year’s cause being Make-A-Wish Korea, which works to give special experiences to children with life-threatening illnesses.
Eric Walsh, Canadian Ambassador to Korea, helped open the event, speaking about the importance of sharing cultural values and of active lives among youth.
Kids, parents and guests pose for a group photo at Hockey Day Korea 2017.
Make-A-Wish Korea CEO Kim Yu-kyung talked about MAWK’s mandate to raise money to grant “wishes” to children with life-threatening medical conditions in Korea.
The next special guest was two-time NHL Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins and coach of the Korea Men’s Olympic ice hockey team Jim Paek. Expressing appreciation toward all of the efforts made in creating HDK, Paek stressed the need to further develop hockey awareness and skills development among youth.
Following the ceremony, Craig Grillanda and other players from Team Korea Ball Hockey led children from the Gyunggi-do STARS ice hockey club through skill stations around the rink to help them adjust and learn the ropes of ball hockey.
After skills classes, the Daemyung Killer Wales of the Asia Pro Ice Hockey League took on Team Korea Ball Hockey in an exhibition match.
The adjustment from skates to shoes proved too much for Daemyung as Team Korea went on to take the exhibition match 5-1, with Andrew Bourque firing two from the blueline.
During the closing ceremony, a Team Korea ice hockey jersey worn and signed by national team players went up for auction, fetching 550,000 won for MAWK.
CCM Hockey Korea received special recognition for their generous donation to MAWK, as well as for donating two sets of youth goalie gear to the Korea Ball Hockey Association.
The KBHA will use the gear to set up youth ball hockey games.
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This article was contributed to The Korea Herald by Colin Gennoe, who is one of the organizers of Hockey Day Korea. – Ed.