During the 2014 Annual IIHF Congress meeting, it was announced that South Korea will participate in the Olympics for 2018, their first time ever.
There was a lot of debate as to what the situation would happen for the 2018 games, which happen to be in South Korea. After going win less at the Division I Group A World Championships earlier this year Korea was relegated to Group B for 2015. In a sense, it can be seen as the team losing a full year of development, as they are going backwards in their quest of proving their real worth.
To think that after losing to Ukraine, a Division 1A club, by a score of 8-2 should be good enough to scare you away from the idea. Considering their top player is former Edmonton Oilers prospect Bryan Young should say something, as he finished his brief NHL career with zero points.
If the IIHF tiebreaker rule is brought into effect once again, it will be a slaughterhouse. If teams like Russia, Canada and Sweden can defeat teams like Norway and Austria by incredible differences, imagine how a game against a 23rd ranked team will finish. As a result, current bubble teams such as Austria, Belarus, Latvia, Slovenia and Kazakhstan, all who may actually be able to stay within a ten goal differential, will have one less legitimate spot to compete for.
The last team to get an automatic birth into the Olympics was Italy. The Italians, ranked 14th at the time, finished with 23 goals allowed in just five games. While the scores wouldn’t prove it, Italy actually deserved to be there, having placed 14th in World Championship competition. But to see them get blown out like they did then compared to what could happen to South Korea in 2018…yikes.
Well, hey, you never know. Maybe with all the new financial support from the Korean Ice Hockey Association ($20M U.S.), the team will be forced to improve by 2018. If not, get ready for some one-sided affairs.
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