South Korea announced the men's and women's hockey rosters for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Thursday, with the women's squad subject to changes following an inter-Korean agreement on a joint team.
The men's team, coached by former National Hockey League defenseman Jim Paek, named 14 forwards, eight defensemen and three goalies. The women's team, with former Canadian star Sarah Murray at the helm, has 14 forwards, six rearguards and three goalies.
For both men's and women's tournaments, game day rosters are limited to 22 athletes -- 20 skaters and two goaltenders.
Paek set up a training camp at Jincheon National Training Center in Jincheon, some 90 kilometers south of Seoul, on Jan. 8, with 37 players on hand. A dozen players were cut.
Members of the South Korean men`s and women`s national hockey teams pose for photos with President Moon Jae-in (C, back row) during his visit to the Jincheon National Training Center in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province, on Jan. 17, 2018. South Korea announced a 25-player roster for men and a 23-player roster for women for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Game day rosters for both tournaments are set at 22 players. (Yonhap)
The men's team features seven Canadian or American-born players who have been naturalized as South Koreans. They are goalie Matt Dalton; defensemen Bryan Young, Alex Plante and Eric Regan; and forwards Brock Radunske, Mike Testwuide and Michael Swift.
Before the Olympics, South Korea will face Kazakhstan, Slovenia and Russia in tuneup games.
Slotted into Group A as the host, South Korea, No. 21 in the world, will open the tournament against sixth-ranked Czech Republic at 9:10 p.m. on Feb. 15, and then take on No. 7 Switzerland at 4:40 p.m. on Feb. 17. Then at 9:10 p.m. the following day, South Korea will face Canada, the world No. 1 and two-time defending champion. All games will be at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, the city that will host all the ice events during the Olympics.
There are 12 men's teams divided into three groups of four. The three group winners plus the best second-seeded team will reach the quarterfinals and will be joined by the winners of qualification playoffs.
For the first time since 1994, the Olympic tournament will not feature NHL stars after the league balked at stopping the regular season in February and placing key players at risk of injury.
The women's team has four players born outside the country who are of Korean descent: forwards Randi Heesoo Griffin, Danelle Im, Caroline Park and Grace Lee. Marissa Brandt, who was born in Korea but adopted into an American family as an infant, also made the team on defense and will play under her Korean name, Park Yoon-jung.
Her sister, Hannah Brandt, made the US national team.
Youth are well-represented on the South Korean squad, with eight teenagers.
South Korea is ranked 22nd and is in Group B. Its first game is against world No. 6 Switzerland at 9:10 p.m. on Feb. 10, with fifth-ranked Sweden up next at 9:10 p.m. on Feb. 12. The final group match is against ninth-ranked Japan at 4:40 p.m. on Feb. 14. All games will be played at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung.
The women's tournament features eight nations that have been grouped based on the 2016 world rankings. Canada, the United States, Finland and Russia are in Group A, and the top two countries from this group will advance directly to the semifinals, while the bottom two will reach the quarterfinals.
The top two teams from Group B will join them in the knockout stage.
The two Koreas agreed Wednesday to field a joint women's team for PyeongChang, and the International Olympic Committee will determine the size of the Korean team at its meeting Saturday. South Korean officials previously said they were seeking cooperation from both the IOC and the International Ice Hockey Federation to expand the roster for the unified Korean team.
Murray has said she noticed some "hard-nosed" players from North Korea when the two Koreas faced each other at the IIHF Women's World Championship Division II Group A tournament in Gangneung last April. But Murray said no North Korean player is good enough to crack South Korea's top three lines, adding that she hoped she won't be pressured into playing North Korean players. (Yonhap)