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Embassy of Canada in Korea to co-host “Imjin Classic 2018”

January 11, 2018- Seoul, Korea- Global Affairs Canada

The commemorative ice hockey game coincides with the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games torch relay in Paju City on 19 January 2018.

In the winter of 1952-1953, Canadian soldiers stationed near the frontlines of the Korean War carved out a makeshift hockey rink on the frozen Imjin River where two Canadian regiments, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) and the Royal 22e Régiment (Vandoos), played friendly hockey matches.

In homage to their spirit and initiative, and in this year of the 65th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, the Embassy of Canada and Paju City are pleased to announce the upcoming Imjin Classic 2018: a commemorative ice hockey game to be held at the Yulgok Wetland Park, Paju, near the original site of the Imjin hockey matches, in partnership with the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (hereinafter “POCOG”). The event will run from 12:00 – 16:30 on 19 January 2018, and coincide with the passage of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Torch Relay.

This leg of the relay will see four designated torch bearers, including Canada’s Ambassador to Korea H.E. Eric Walsh and Claude Charland, a Canadian veteran of the Korean War, carry the Olympic flame ahead of the Imjin Classic 2018 friendly hockey match between Canada and Korea.

For the game itself, “Team Canada” will be comprised of members of today’s PPCLI and Vandoos – the regiments that played each other in the 1950s – as well as players from the Canadian community in Korea, while “Team Corea” will bring together members of hockey teams from Yonsei University and Korea University, whose own rivalry goes back many years. However, on this special occasion and to mark the 90th anniversary of hockey’s official debut in Korea, these two university teams will play as one for the first time, under the Team Corea banner.

Among many special guests, the Embassy will be especially proud to welcome Korean War veterans Claude Charland (Vandoos), Dennis Moore (PPCLI), and John Bishop (PPCLI) to the Imjin Classic 2018. Both Charland and Moore played in the original inter-regiment series on the Imjin River during the Korean War.

Several local dignitaries will also participate, including Hee-beom Lee, President & CEO of POCOG, and Jun-tae Kim, acting Mayor of Paju City.

Quotes

“The 2018 Imjin Classic is a tribute to the Canadian soldiers who played hockey on the frozen Imjin River during the Korean War. As we remember our soldiers’ contribution to the peaceful and prosperous country South Korea has become today, we look forward to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Games where athletes from Canada and the rest of the world will celebrate excellence in sport.”  
- Ambassador of Canada H.E. Eric Walsh

“The Imjin Classic is a great opportunity to honour our war veterans and a perfect moment to recreate the ice hockey matches that were enjoyed over many years on the frozen Imjin River. This celebration of team work and friendly rivalries are exactly what the Olympic Winter Games are about. We hope many of the Canadian participants and spectators here today will come and show their support for their national athletes during Games time and that this tradition lives on for many years to come.”
- President of the PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee, Hee-beom Lee

Quick Facts

  • Canada contributed more than 26,000 troops, the third-largest contingent, to UN Forces during 1950-53 Korean War. The major battles that Canadian soldiers fought in include the Battle of Kapyong (1951) and the Battle of Imjin River (1952).
  • Other “Imjin” hockey initiatives:
    • In Korea, a group of Canadians working and living in Korea has established an annual hockey tournament called the Imjin River Memorial Cup tournament.
    • In Canada, the inaugural Imjin Classic was played outdoors on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa in 2013 during the concurrent “Year of the Korean War Veteran” and the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Canada. It has since become an annual tradition with members of today’s PPCLI and Vandoos facing off in Ottawa as they did during the war.
  • “Team Corea”: Yonsei University and Korea University’s Ice Hockey Teams held their first match as Bosung Jeon-mun and Yonhee Jeon-mun. To celebrate the 90th anniversary of the first recorded hockey game in Korea (1928) and to uphold the Olympic peace theme, they’ve decided to come together as one and participate in the Imjin Classic 2018. “Corea” was widely used as the official name of the country until the late 19th century. To highlight the long history of Korea as well as to recognize that the team includes both Korea University and Yonsei University, Team Corea will be used as the official team’s name for the Imjin Classic.

Contacts

Jennifer Kay
Jennifer.Kay@international.gc.ca  
I +82 (0)2 3783-6060
I +82 (0)10-5269-8112

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Date Modified:
2018-01-17