North American Ice Hockey Players Become S. Korean Citizens for 2018 Winter Olympics

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Two North American ice hockey players became naturalized South Korean citizens and will be representing their newly adopted country at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, South Korea’s Ministry of Justice said Monday.

The ministry approved the naturalization of American ice hockey player Mike Testwuide, 28, and Korean Canadian Caroline Nancy Park, 26, on Friday. Both athletes have been active members of Korean ice hockey teams since 2013, with Testwuide playing for the Anyang Halla and Park for the women’s national team.

The Korean Olympic Committee had requested that the ministry fast-track Testwuide and Park’s naturalization to help South Korea better compete at the Winter Olympics, reports Yonhap News Agency. According to the International Ice Hockey Federation, South Korea is ranked 23rd and 24th in men’s and women’s hockey.

In 2011, South Korea revised the immigration law to allow qualified foreign nationals to hold multiple citizenships. Since then, about 70 foreigners have obtained South Korean citizenship. This includes Canadian ice hockey players Brian Young and Michael Swift, who were granted Korean naturalizations in January 2014. Earlier this year, the ministry also granted a Korean passport to Han In-suk, a Korean American professor who heads the Incheon campus of the University of Utah.


Featured image via Asia League Ice Hockey