, , ,

Randi Griffin of Korea’s unified women’s Olympic hockey tea (Photo/Korean Ice Hockey Association).

PYEONGCHANG – Presidents don’t usually pay visits to losing teams.

But there was South Korean President Moon Jae-in meeting with the players and coaches of the Korean unified hockey team at their bench after they got routed 8-0 by Switzerland in their opening game at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Moon, accompanied by Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, chatted and posed for pictures with the team.

Despite the final score, the game was historic – the first time athletes from North and South Korea played on a single team at the Winter Olympics.

The game symbolized the aspirations of many for one Korea – or at least a peaceful coexistence between the North and South.

Thomas Griffin, right, his wife, Elizabeth, and her parents journeyed to Pyeongchang to root for Korean unified women’s team forward Randi Griffin (Photo/Samara Fox).

Randi Griffin bought her family hockey jerseys with her number to wear at the historic game between the Korean unified women’s Olympic hockey team and Switzerland (Photo/Samara Fox).


The game was meaningful for the parents of unified team forward Randi Griffin. Thomas and Elizabeth Griffin made the journey from Apex, North Carolina, to watch her play for her mother’s home country.

So did Griffin’s elderly grandparents, who made the trek from Chicago.

Griffin, who played four years at NCAA Division I Harvard University, was recruited by South Korea to play shortly after the country was awarded the 2018 Winter Games.

Embed from Getty Images

South Korean hockey officials sent her an email in 2014 asking if she’d be interested in playing for their Olympic hockey team. She ignored the email for three months, thinking it was a hoax.

Other than their daughter, the Griffins had little to cheer about Saturday night. Swiss forward Alina Muller was a one-woman wrecking crew against the unified squad, scoring four goals.

But that didn’t seem to matter to the partisan crowd of more than 3,000 inside Kwandong Hockey Centre.

Embed from Getty Images

They cheered almost every time the unified team handled or shot the puck.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s hand-picked cheerleaders kept things lively with chants and dances throughout the game.

Follow the Color of Hockey on Facebook and Twitter @ColorOfHockey. Download the Color of Hockey podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play.