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Fearful Alien Team

Posted September. 08, 2003 23:16,   


A fearful alien team of ice hockey emerged.

It was early morning yesterday in the Mokdong Ice Rink, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul. As soon as I got entered the rink, `Mah~~~`, the metal sound of skate blades grabs my attention. It is late summer but I felt chilly and could see white frosty clouds forming when breathing out.

Players on the rink, however, were full of sweat, heating up the rink. The most eye catching thing was uniforms. Some were wearing a red uniform of the Hyundai Oil Bank, while some were wearing that of the Dongwon Dreams or college teams.

Who would they be? “They are just ice hockey maniacs,” Park Kyeong-Eun, the most senior player, as well as the playing coach of the team, answers my curiosity in a simple sentence.

They are the outsiders of Korean ice hockey. Some are former professional players of the Hyundai Oil Bankers, and Dongwon Dream which were disbanded last year and this year, respectively and some are college students who could not join the professional teams. There are also 10 public interest service personnel, including Lee Jeong-hoon, who played for the Halla Winia before he was conscripted into the army.

The motive of the team is very simple. They just could not forget about ice hockey.

As the players who had no place to go as their teams were disbanded, once shifted their interest into inline hockey but it could not fulfill their desire. So, Park Jin-heong and Paek Seong-hoon, both of whom had played for the Hyundai took initiatives in gathering players 3 month ago.

They come to the Mokdong Icelink twice a week. They pay for the rent of the rink, around 140,000 won for 2 hours, out of their pockets. Uniforms and equipment are all old and quite won out since they have been used for a long time, but it doesn`t matter to them.

One day, however, they could hear good news. A member of an ice hockey lovers` society, who is a venture company businessman, showed wiliness to finance all the expenses of training. “I am also an ice hockey enthusiast. I could not bear not to anything when I heard the story of the players,” said Kim Ji-euk(37), CEO of the R&I Production, an multimedia production company.

“Though not paid, it is still a great help for them, as they now can train as much as they want without worrying expenses. They named their team the `Mobile Edge`. The head of their coaching staff is former Hyundai manager Park Hyeon-euk(39). “I was helpless as the guys relentlessly called me and asked me to join the team one after another,” said Park who was running a bargain store after his team had been disbanded. He is also a volunteer without pay.

The number of the team, `Mobile Edge`, is 30. The team, dubbed as the `Fearful Alien Team` will register their names under the Korea Ice Hockey association and participate in the Open Hockey Competition and Korean League, respectively, held from October 8 and November.

With full of unyielding spirit, their power and maneuvers are even scary. They even beat Kyunghee University by 10-1 in a recent friendly match. “Well, if those who get paid for doing this sport loses to us, they will be so embarrassed by us,” Yoon Tae-ung, former Dongwon Dreams player said with full of confidence.

“It couldn`t be better if new professional teams are organized. But I do not expect that much. As long as I can play ice hockey, that will do me.”

“My eldest daughter Seyeon promised me that she will come at the Open Competition next month,” Park Gyeong-un, a small business owner who raises three daughters, said with full blossom of smile in his face.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com