In homage to their spirit and initiative, and in this year of the 65th anniversary of the end of 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”).
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.
The event will run from 12:00 – 16:30 on 19 January 2018, and coincide with the passage of the PyeongChang Olympic 2018 Olympic Torch Relay.
“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,” said Canadian Ambassador Eric Walsh.
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.
Photos courtesy of the Embassy of Canada