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UWRF women's hockey going international

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls women's hockey team will play an exhibition game with an international flavor on Sunday, Jan. 7, when it hosts the Korean national team at Hunt Arena in Falcon Center.

The game will be a tune-up for the visiting team which will compete in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February with an automatic entry as the host nation.

"The exhibition game will be an exciting opportunity for us to showcase our women's hockey program and the new Falcon Center on an international stage," said UW-River Falls Interim Athletic Director Crystal Lanning. "The fact that the Korean national team will be on campus during the university's 'Year of South Korea' celebration will only add to the excitement of this event."

"I think this is a unique opportunity for my players to get to play an Olympic team and it should be a great experience for them," said Joe Cranston, UW-River Falls women's hockey head coach. "It also says a lot about the quality of our women's hockey program here at UWRF to be given this opportunity."

South Korea's team currently holds the No. 22 world ranking from the International Ice Hockey Federation and won the Division IIA world women's championship in 2017. The Koreans have played 43 sanctioned games against other national teams in their history, winning eight.

Ranked sixth in U.S. College Hockey Online's latest poll, the Falcons currently hold a record of 7-4-1 on the season.

However, records are secondary to the international atmosphere expected at the event. In addition to the 2017 UWRF "Year of" program in which the university celebrates a different culture each year, UW-River Falls has an exchange agreement in place with South Korea's Yeungjin College, an arrangement which facilitates Korean students interested in attending UWRF. The ongoing relationship with Yeungjin College also provides UW-River Falls students the opportunity to teach abroad.

The hockey game will celebrate the joining of two cultures — through education and sports.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to celebrate a unique relationship through sports which are an important aspect of our campus life," said UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen. "We look forward to the cultural experience hosting the Korean national team will provide, in addition to the game."

Faceoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. at Hunt Arena in Falcon Center. Admission is free and UW-River Falls Athletics invites all area youth hockey players to bring their skates to take the ice with the teams immediately following the game.

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