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Korean American Richard Park Did It

Posted December. 19, 2002 22:55,   


“We faced a team that we have never won. However, we were young and hungry for victory. Now, we received the pay-back.”

The always-losing team of the National Hockey League (NHL), Minnesota Wilds created a ‘small miracle’ on the 19th. And there was a Korean-American Park, Yong-Soo (26. Richard Park in American name) in the center of that.

It was the game against the Edmonton Oilers held at the Minnesota`s home rink Excel

Energy Center. Minnesota was trailing with 1-3 until the beginning of the 3rd period, so the defeat seemed certain. What was worse, the opponent their “natural enemy” Edmonton, which they had never won since the foundation of the team in 2000 with record of 7 losses and 5 draws.

Minnesota caught up with 2-3 at the 8 minutes and 31 seconds in the 3rd period by the goal of Marian Gavorik. After that, it was a solo stage of Park, Yong-Soo. Park, Yong-Soo scored the tying goal with snap shoot penetrating inside from behind the net in 7 minutes and 20 seconds to go in the game.

His action did not stop there. Park, Yong-Soo created a valuable ‘Golden Goal’ by pushing the puck, which was rebounded after hitting the Edmonton goalie Jossy Makanen, inside at 4 minutes 43 seconds in the overtime. His teammates hugged him and shared the deep emotion of the first win against Edmonton with him, and home fans gave him wild cheers.

The day`s victory gave an opportunity to Minnesota to go up to the 1st place in the Western Conference North West Division with 18 wins, 7 draws, and 8 losses, so it was more meaningful. After the game, the Head Coach of Minnesota, Jacque L`Mei said, “It was the best game that we had played so far,” and “since Park, Yong-Soo`s condition was good, I knew he would do something in the overtime.” The Head Coach of the losing Edmonton, Craig McTabish also said, “Park, Yong-Soo was small but very strong player.” Park, Yong-Soo immigrated to America with his family in 1979, and he started Ice Hockey in 1984. He played as the best offensive player in the Junior League of Ontario, Canada from 1992 to 1994, and he joined the pro team, Pittsburgh Penguins in 1994, but he didn`t play well.

However, after joining the newly founded Minnesota last year, he recorded 10 goals and 15 assists in 62 games during the 2001~2002 season, and he is recording 7 goals and 3 assists in 33 games this season. He was selected as a member of the US National Team as the first Korean born player in this April, and he recorded the most points in the team with 3 goals and 3 assists at the 6 World Championship (in Sweden) Preliminary League matches. He has excellent skills in aspects such as skating, instantaneous speed, and goal making.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com