This week the Olympic torch passed through Seoul and Paju. I was lucky enough to see it, twice. However, the second time was a little more special for me. This is because Canadians Veterans of the Korean War carried the torch.The Canadian embassy and Korean Olympic committee collaborated to host the Imjin Classic hockey game. The march commemorated the original games that occurred on the Imjin river between Canadian forces during the Korean War.
In the winter of 1952, the Korean War raged. Canadians were on the front lines, near the Immji River and it was bitterly cold. Soldiers were desperate to take their minds off of the atrocities and boost their morale. So they did what Canadians do best. They played hockey.
In the spirit of friendship and an appreciation for the Canadian efforts during the war, three veterans carried the Olympic torch around the hockey rink. The three veterans who participated in the original games and returned to Paju for the event.
The event began with a press conference followed by traditional Korean dancing, and finally the arrival of the Olympic torch. After the Olympic torch made its rounds the hockey game started. The Korean team consisted of students while the Canadian team consisted of members of the armed forces.
It was neat to see two countries I connect with deeply with symbolizing their friendship. I enjoyed the festivities and the gentle reminder of the importance of hockey in Canadian culture and in the Korean war effort.