GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- The arena for women's hockey games during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics has added locker stalls to accommodate the joint Korean squad, an official for the venue said Thursday.
Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung, home of all ice events located just east of PyeongChang, has recently completed an expansion of its locker room and has installed 35 stalls for the unified Korean team.
All other teams have the regular entry of 23 players. But in a landmark deal approved by the International Olympic Committee, 23 South Korean players have been joined by 12 North Koreans for the Feb. 9-25 Olympics.
In this file photo taken April 8, 2017, South Korean fans in the stands cheer on North Korean players (in red) against Slovenia during the International Ice Hockey Federation Women`s World Championship Division II Group A tournament at Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung, Gangwon Province. (Yonhap)
The actual game roster will remain the same as everyone else with 22 -- 20 skaters and two goaltenders. At least three North Koreans must be in the lineup at each game.
Kwandong will host all group stage games for all eight nations.
"We finished our work on Monday," the official said. "We had some extra space next to the locker room, and so we tore down the wall and added a dozen stalls."
Gangneung Hockey Centre, the other hockey venue in Gangneung, will only host one women's game -- the gold medal contest -- and didn't undergo renovation.
South Korea is ranked 22nd in the world, three spots above North Korea. The joint team will face three top-10 teams: No. 6 Switzerland on Feb. 10, No. 5 Sweden on Feb. 12 and No. 9 Japan on Feb. 14.
The North Koreans arrived in the South on Jan. 25 and have been practicing together since the weekend. They will actually face Sweden, their second opponent in the Olympics, in their only tune-up game Sunday in Incheon, just west of Seoul. (Yonhap)