Tardif visits Korea
by Martin Merk|27 OCT 2022
IIHF President Luc Tardif accepts a present from KIHA President Hojin Lee.
photo: KIHA
IIHF President Luc Tardif visited Korea last week and met with Korea Ice Hockey Association President Hojin Lee and his staff members, talked about the IIHF’s future development strategy for the Asia region and the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I Group B in Suwon and the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games that will both be hosted in Korea.

Tardif travelled to Korea to attend the 16th Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly in Seoul and extended his stay to visit the office of the Korea Ice Hockey Association on 21 October. KIHA President Hojin Lee and nine staff members welcomed President Tardif and had discussions about the development program in Korea and Asia especially targeting the IIHF’s new strategy plan ICE26, how to work more closely together and the future and role of Korea in the strategy plan.

“It was important to visit the President and the office of the Korea Ice Hockey Association, have a good exchange and talk about the game. It was the first time an IIHF President was at a game of the Asia League, which also gave the chance to get in touch with the people involved in the league from both Korea and Japan,” said IIHF President Luc Tardif.

Korea is continuing the legacy of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, which recently brought their development program ‘Hockey Together Camp’ back in 2022 and hosting the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I Group B in Suwon next April at the brand-new Gwanggyo Ice Rink. The event will take place in the city of 1.3 million inhabitants about 30 kilometres south of Seoul 17 to 23 April 2023. In addition, the preparation for the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games are also moving forward in cooperated with the Gangwon Youth Olympic Organizing Committee. The ice hockey tournaments will be held in Gangneung where the Olympic ice hockey tournaments were held in 2018.

“I am very happy to visit and see people working behind the ice. Korea is a leading country in ice hockey in Asia. They have experienced many World Championships and Olympics and now the Youth Olympics will come here. Korea has to do more for regional development in Asia. I am expecting more from Korea and the IIHF will support for further development programs,” said Tardif.

KIHA President Hojin Lee emphasized: “Korea is more than happy to take a role for hockey development in Asia and we are ready to work together with the IIHF and other MNAs in Asia. We have the infrastructure and personnel with various background experience. These resources will benefit regional hockey development in Asia.”

First IIHF President to visit Asia League

On Saturday, President Tardif visited Anyang to watch the Asia League Ice Hockey game between HL Anyang from Korea against the Red Eagles Hokkaido from Japan. Before the game started, President Tardif had a puck drop ceremony for the opening with the two teams and became the first president of the International Ice Hockey Federation at an Asia League Ice Hockey game and to conduct a puck drop.

The two best club teams from each country played their best and it went all the way to shootout to decide who is a winner. At the end, the Red Eagles from Japan beat HL Anyang 3-2.

“It was very interesting and high-level game. The game tempo was quite fast and all players skate very well. This league can be definitely a good model for Asia and I hope we can find a way to expand this league to different regions and also paying more attention on second tier leagues if possible,” said Tardif.
IIHF President Luc Tardif at the office of the Korea Ice Hockey Association.
photo: KIHA