Canada Ball Hockey Korea’s inaugural “Hockey Day Korea -> Support Youth, Play Hockey” event happens this Saturday November 5th from noon until 4pm at Jamsil’s in-line rink arena near the main Olympic Stadium. This event, previously postponed due to inclement weather, gives supporters the chance to give something back to the community via charitable donations and getting involved with worthy causes. The afternoon offers a clinic in ball hockey to elementary school students around the Seoul area to create wider participation in the sport. In addition, the event will also be raising funds for the Oak Tree Project.
Ball hockey (essentially ice hockey without the ice) has been around for a number of years in Korea. However, the sport really got organised with the creation of Canada Ball Hockey Korea (CBHK) in 2008. From an opening league season of four teams and 56 players, the non-profit organisation has grown to ten teams and 130 players competing in spring and fall seasons every year. Completely volunteer driven, the organisation has thrived through the generosity and assistance of its Seoul-based sponsors. It is always on the look-out for new members, and all nationalities can get involved; the only pre-requisite is a love of hockey and an ability to pick up a stick.
This desire to see the sport build beyond its present niche status partly inspired the genesis of the “Hockey Day Korea -> Support Youth, Play Hockey” idea. Placing an onus on giving something back to the local community, the CBHK sees promoting the sport among young people as vital; especially with the Team Korea ice hockey teams competing in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018. With this in mind, the CBHK reached out to the national side. The response was incredible, with Team Korea’s National Womens’ Ice Hockey Coach, Sarah Murray, offering to endorse the event by attending along with members of the Womens’ National Team. In addition, the Canadian Ambassador to Korea, Mr. Eric Walsh will serve as honorary chairperson for Hockey Day Korea during the opening ceremony. All of this has signalled that the event has long surpassed initial expectations.
November 5th will prove one of the biggest dates in the CBHK’s history, with events starting off at 12.00pm. From there, members of the CBHK will be conducting hockey clinics in shooting, passing and stick handling before organising pick-up matches between the kids. In addition, the Oak Tree Project will be receiving donations from not just the day’s events but also from fundraising activity that the organisation has been engaged in over recent months. One of Oak Tree’s main aims is to provide assistance for orphans once they leave state-run institutions; a project perfect for an event which seeks to work with children. Once the closing ceremony concludes at 3pm, the Team Korea Men’s Ball Hockey Team will square-off against the Bauer All-Stars; led by Sarah Murray and National Women’s Team Players. This will be a fun match, but also a tune-up for the Korea Men’s Ball Hockey Team as they prepare to compete in inaugural Asia Hall Hockey Championships taking place the following weekend (Nov 11-12th) in Hong Kong.
Sponsorship for Hockey Day Korea and its fundraising activities has been incredible, with long-time and loyal partner JR Pub (Itaewon) and pub owner Troy, contributing generously. Beer-o-clock in Sinchon has also given financial support to this worthy cause as has longtime CBHK partner, RMT, which is also based in Itaewon. Phillies Pub in HBC has also donated kindly to the event in multiple ways. CBHK is sincerely grateful to its bar sponsors for their generosity to this project. As well, Kangnam Pride Institute, a pre-kindergarten to elementary school English Academy in the Gangdong district has contributed generously. Bauer and the Korea Ice Hockey Association also deserve wonderful praise for their generous contributions of prizes for the children who will be attending. Finally, Matt Pletz at Pletz6s for his terrific work designing the marketing material for all guests of Hockey Day Korea.
Whether you are a die-hard hockey fan or don’t even know who Wayne Gretzky is, the first Saturday in November offers a prime opportunity to join the CBHK in helping both the community and a more-than-worthy cause. Come to Jamsil, watch some hockey, meet the Canadian Ambassador to Korea along with members of the national womens’ ice hockey team and help give something back to the local community. November is, after all, a month synonymous with charity. All proceeds will go directly to funding the Oak Tree Project. CBHK welcomes members of the public to please donate by clicking the ‘donate’ icon at https://hockeydaykorea.wordpress.com/
With thanks to Colin Gennoe for all his help with the article