GANGNEUNG – Two IIHF championships serving as test event for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Korea have started at the two Olympic ice hockey arenas on Sunday and can be followed live.
The 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division II Group A and the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group A both take place in Gangneung on the east coast of Korea where the ice sport events of the PyeongChang2018 Olympics will take place.
Both tournaments will be held at the Gangneung Hockey Center and the Kwandong Hockey Center, the two recently-completed ice hockey venues for the 2018 Olympics and serve to test the tournament operation.
The U18 tournament started with a surprise as Lithuania beat the top-seeded Koreans 4-2 in the first game in front of 1,243 fans at Kwandong Hockey Center. Romania easily beat Croatia 7-1 while recently promoted Estonia had a good start with a 6-5 shootout win against Great Britain.
The Korean women’s national team is the only of the 12 teams that will actually play here when the Olympics begin in 10 months. They started on a positive note with a 5-1 victory against Slovenia.
A unique situation was that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s women’s team, which is also seeded in this tier, came to Gangneung after approval from both governments despite the decades-long political tensions between the north and the south part of the Korean peninsula. The team from the other side of the ceasefire line drew curiosity and had the highest attendance of the day, 1,923 spectators, as it opened the women’s tournament with a 2-1 loss to Australia.
While ice hockey national teams from North and South Korea have played each other on neutral ground before, most recently last year in Slovenia, Thursday’s game at Gangneung Hockey Center between the teams representing the two Koreas will be a unique opportunity to face off in a game actually taking place on the Korean peninsula.
In another game on Sunday the Netherlands beat Great Britain 5-4. A special side note was a marriage proposal among two players as Cloe Keijzer proposed to Katie Henry after the game. And if that’s not special enough add the fact that the two players were opponents on the ice just minutes before. (Video
The two tournaments in Gangneung can be followed on a live stream and live ticker on the tournament pages. Click here to access the tournaments: 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division II Group A 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group A