Presented under the banner of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) program by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the 2023 Hockey Together Camp has drawn 123 spirited Korean players, 27 dedicated coaches, and 17 esteemed delegates from the IIHF MNA Developer Program. This gathering exemplifies the true essence of global unity through sports.
Building on the resounding success of the previous years, the 2023 Hockey Together Camp, now in its fifth iteration since its inception in 2014, stands as a beacon of collaboration and growth. Coaches and players from 13 nations, spanning Ukraine to Mexico, Malaysia to Turkey, converged to share their expertise and passion, transcending cultural barriers and creating lifelong connections.
"At its core, the 2023 Hockey Together Camp is a celebration of the shared love for ice hockey," emphasizes Aku Nieminen, Head of Ice Hockey at Vierumaki Sports Institute. "We find ourselves in an environment brimming with the exchange of knowledge and making new friends. This extraordinary event highlights the commitment and international impact of the Korea Ice Hockey Association and the Ministry of Sports of Korea."
The unwavering support of the Korean Government and the KIHA has made this international collaboration possible. Coaches from ODA countries and IIHF-nominated members stand as living proof of the transformative power of collective action. The meticulously curated programs presented at the camp underscore the IIHF's dedication to global ice hockey development, with a particular focus on assisting ODA countries facing geographical challenges.
Kalle Valiaho, the IIHF Development Director, expressed his enthusiasm for this partnership, stating, "The collaboration between the IIHF and the Korean Ice Hockey Federation for the 2023 Hockey Together Camp is an indication to the remarkable potential that emerges when we join forces. This event serves as an exemplary model for MNAs globally, illustrating the capacity to nurture local and regional growth."
Camp Manager Kwangeun Choi echoes these sentiments, sharing, "The journey to realizing this monumental event has been one of dedication and passion. Seeing participants come together and learn from each other warms our hearts. Our ultimate aim is for each individual to return home with indelible experiences and connections, carrying the spirit of this camp to their respective nations."
As the 2023 Hockey Together Camp embarks on its transformative journey, the shared aspiration is to solidify bonds, facilitate learning, and chart a path toward a brighter future for ice hockey across the globe. The legacy of this event will reverberate through ice rinks and hearts for years to come.