President of Korea Ice Hockey Association, Mong-won Chung to be International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Famer

- The induction ceremony to be held in Zürich, Switzerland in May; 5th honoree in Asia -
2020-02-13 21:00 486

SEOUL, South Korea, Feb. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Mong-won Chung (Chairman of Halla Group & CEO of Mando Corp.), President of the Korea Ice Hockey Association, has been inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame.

President of Korea Ice Hockey Association, Mong-won Chung to be International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Famer
President of Korea Ice Hockey Association, Mong-won Chung to be International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Famer

The IIHF announced six new entrants to its Hall of Fame for 2020 on its homepage, among which President Mong-won Chung was the lone honoree in the builder category for his large role as a leader and administrator in the development of ice hockey.

Since beginning his relationship with ice hockey through the formation of the men's commercial ice hockey team Mando Winia (the predecessor of Anyang Halla) in 1994, President Mong-won Chung has been working for the last 25 years for the development and internationalization of ice hockey in Korea, making him the 5th person from Asia to be inducted to the IIHF's Hall of Fame after Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, Tsutomi Kawabuchia and Shoichi Tomida from Japan, and Boris Alexandrov from Kazakhstan.

In its announcement on his entry to the 2020 IIHF Hall of Fame, the IIHF praised Chung for his unwavering will, effort and dedication in his contribution to the development of ice hockey in both the Korean and Asian leagues, and introduced the path he took in detail as a man of ice hockey.

The federation emphasized in particular that the inclusion of Korean hockey teams in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics could not have happened without the steadfast resolve of Chung, and that the "symbol of peace" through the formation of a single women's ice hockey team between North and South Korea that received worldwide attention was only possible thanks to his vision, ambition, and unshakable dedication.

Chung steadfastly protected his team even in the 2000s when domestic men's commercial ice hockey teams in Korea began to unravel one after another, overcoming a difficult situation from a rapid contraction of the domestic base, by reaching out to commercial teams in Japan to make a breakthrough via launching an ice hockey league between the two countries. As a result, Asia League Ice Hockey was founded, which played a pivotal role in Korea's development of the sport.

Korean ice hockey, which began with a massive gap between itself and the Japanese teams as seen by its 1-11 loss in its first match with Kokudo (Japan) in 2003, continued to grow in the Asia League and quickly caught up with Japan. Anyang Halla currently holds the largest number of championships in Asia (2010, 2011, 2016, 2017, 2018), and the Korean national team has also overwhelmed Japan with five consecutive victories since 2016.

Despite the decision in 2011 to host the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the IIHF was hesitant to allow Korea to automatically participate as the host country, deeming it an "underdeveloped wasteland" for the sport. In January 2013, President Chung became the President of the Korea Ice Hockey Association with entry into the Olympic Games as his foremost goal then, used a diplomatic network to convince the IIHF, and led the men's and women's ice hockey teams to qualification in September 2014 for the Pyeongchang Olympics. Afterwards, he ran a systematic team development program for the teams up to the matches at the Olympics, taking Korean ice hockey to the next level.

The men's team (ranked 17th worldwide in 2019) came in second in Group A, Division I at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Kiev, Ukraine in 2017, winning a promotion that took it to the 2018 IIHF World Championship in 2018, while the women's team (ranked 16th), which had remained in Group B in Division II, made remarkable progress by rising to Group B in Division I.

Even after the Pyeongchang Olympics, Chung continued his energetic activity for the growth of Korean ice hockey. With the idea of keeping the Gangneung Hockey Center as an Olympic heritage by maintaining it as a stadium devoted to ice hockey and making it into a development hub, the Legacy Cup, a tournament of international friendly matches between men's and women's teams, was launched in Gangneung in February last year. The second Legacy Cup will be held at the Gangneung Hockey Center on the 7th, and the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division II Group B was already held at the same venue from the 28th of January to the 3rd of February, where the Korean U-20 team achieved five consecutive wins to take the first place. 

The official ceremony for Chung's induction into the IIHF Hall of Fame will be held in Zürich, Switzerland on May 25, the last day of the 2020 IIHF World Championship.

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Source: Korea Ice Hockey Association
Keywords: Sports