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Canadian soldiers playing hockey on a rink they built in Korea, 1952


The winter of 1952 was bone-chilling, freezing the Imjingang River, a river in northern Gyeonggi-do province that flows down and through the middle of the Korean Peninsula. At the time, the peninsula was still at war, as the Korean War broke out in late June 1950.

There were many Canadian soldiers in the United Nations forces defending the South Korean side against the North. They were stationed on the Western Front along the Imjingang River and were on their guard against any incursion from the north.

However, a strong wind was blowing along the river, and the river almost froze along with the gun-wielding soldiers. The winter weather turned the river into a large plain of ice.

Even in the midst of a tense situation, with war at any time, the young soldiers felt a desire to participate in their traditional winter sport: ice hockey.


They could not suppress their desire for the sport, so the last members of two Canadian battalions: Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) and the Royal 22nd Regiment (R22R) iced the frozen river for a hockey match. Changed to rink.

The glaciated winter wind did not stop the soldiers' passion for their sport. Remembering Korean War veteran Vince Courtenay, the match took place "to the sound of the heavy artillery of nearby US Army artillery", just a short distance from the front lines of the struggle against communist forces.

Although the exact origins of ice hockey are much disputed, ice hockey is believed to have first developed in Canada in the 19th century. Scholars agree that the rules of ice hockey were first codified in 1879 at McGill University in Montreal. Since then, Canada has become synonymous with the sport.



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