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03-07-2013, 01:12 PM
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Country: Canada
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Yeah, SKorea hockey is pretty weak, but they are not a Mongolia level of godawful. They have a good sporting culture and it wouldn't be inconceivable that they would manage to limit all their losses to single digits in 2018 if the prep work they do for the next five years is solid (combined with a great number of imports). They aren't far off from Great Britain or Japan (actually ranked ahead of Japan in the 2014 qualification), the latter of which played in Nagano IIRC. If Canada played Japan I do not expect a 25-0 level of blowout (hypothetically speaking I don't even know how bad a team needs to be to get to that kind of a lopsided scoreline. Maybe the Israeli team? That's 8-9 goals a period or a goal every two minutes consistently...).

In any case, I really hope that S.Korea gets an automatic qualification and that they greatly improve their level by 2018 as it would be pretty sad for the ratings and national interest if they weren't part of the games. Would they be the first host in Olympic ice hockey that didn't have a team?

As for FIFA/IIHF comparisons it's a lot trickier and can't be summarized well, but a good place to start is to recognize that the soccer world is about four times as large as the hockey world (200 NTs as opposed to 50 NTs - I'm only counting those that are ranked as the Vatican City soccer team is about as irrelevant as the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Team). The top 100 ranks in FIFA could conceivably be World Cup entrants - North Korea was in 2010, and while they were blown out by Portugal, they held their own against Brazil in a 2-1 loss and kept their loss to Ivory Coast respectable at 3-0 (frankly they were fed to the hounds in their group). North Korea is currently ranked 102. New Zealand is another one... ranked 90th but managed to draw Italy in the last world cup. Hell even Bahrain at 119 was a goal away from qualifying. Point is, you won't really see too many blowouts in the top 100 in soccer - that's around half of all the 200 be FIFA countries. Would half of IIHF do as well? 25th is Lithuania - just three spots ahead of South Korea. How would they fare against Canada, as opposed to North Korea against Spain? It'd obviously be bad, but not so awful that it doesn't belong in the competition in both cases.

So in summary after such a long winded post, South Korea isn't THAT bad for it to be ridiculous notion for them to play in the Ice Hockey OGs.

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