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July 27, 2021

Veterans News

Remember Everyone Deployed

Canadian Korean War veterans’ ice hockey match on Imjin-gang River reenacted

2 min read

And finally… during the harsh winters of the Korean War, Canadian soldiers were known to relieve their stress by playing ice hockey on frozen rivers. On Friday those scenes were recreated at a special event, that brought back several of those Canadian veterans who were there over 65 years ago. Oh Jung-hee has this story. Skating on ice, passing a hockey puck,… and showing off team work. This is the scene of Canadian soldiers playing ice hockey on the frozen Imjin-gang River located north of Seoul… in January of 1952, in the middle of the Korean War. (English) “All possible was done to care for the welfare of the men in estranged land which afforded none of the amenities to which they were accustomed at home. An outstanding success was the hockey rink, which with the advent of the winter was built on the frozen Imjin River.” Fast forward to 2018,… 3 of the soldiers who were immortalized on that footage returned to South Korea to watch that same scene, at the same place, but with different players this time around.

When they were dispatched to fight along UN forces in the Korean War, none of them thought they would be able to play their national sport on the Korean peninsula. But they did. And by struggling to put the puck into the opponent’s net, they felt connected to their home. Now, ice hockey brings them closer to South Korea. (English) “The game of hockey, at that time, while we were in Korea, so far away from home, got us closer to home. But today, this great game is bringing us closer to Korea.

The war veterans say… they lost over 500 fellow soldiers during the war, with many more sustaining injuries. But when they look at what the country they fought for 6 decades ago turned into, they say the sacrifices were all “worthwhile.” (English) “Korea will become one country. Never mind anyone else, who’s going to make that happen is Korean people from both sides of the line. And I really believe that’s not a wish, this is going to happen.” The two Koreas still remain divided, but for the veterans, who have lived through the war and experienced the sense of unity that only sports can bring, seeing North Korea joining the PyeongChang Winter Olympics is only the beginning to a peaceful reunification. Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News..

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