The Ooks are facing off against a surprising opponent on January 17: the men’s hockey team from Korea University. In a “groundbreaking” announcement on January 5, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) announced the Korea University Tigers will embark on a six-game exhibition tour through Alberta and southern Saskatchewan to evaluate their application to the ACAC.
The Tigers have proposed temporarily relocating to Alberta each season to compete in the ACAC men’s hockey league. Their membership, if approved, would start in the 2024-2025 season.
“This is an outstanding opportunity for our student-athletes to play Korea University and expose them to a true international hockey experience,” ACAC Men’s Hockey Convenor Terry Ballard said in the press release.
“We are excited to be able to provide this level of competition to the great hockey fans of Canada. This is a rare chance to watch exciting international hockey live at this level.”
NAIT Athletics and Recreation Director, Jordan Richey, is also excited for the potential of the Tigers becoming ACAC members. “NAIT would be happy to have this program part of the ACAC should it be able to meet all the requirements to join the ACAC. It would be a fantastic experience for our men’s hockey student-athletes to play against students from another country,”
“[Korea University’s] team is quite strong, and this non-conference game will be a competitive one.”
Korea University’s tour through the ACAC began on January 12 and will conclude on January 31. They faced off against the Concordia Thunder on Jan 12, resulting in a 4-3 overtime loss. The Tigers head to NAIT Arena to face the Ooks on Wednesday, January 17, at 4:30 p.m, before visiting the Portage College Voyageurs, the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings, the SAIT Trojans and the Briercrest Clippers before returning to Seoul.
For those who cannot attend the games live, all matches are streamed on ACACTV, with an all-inclusive exhibition tour package available for $19.99.
The ACAC’s decision on Korea University’s application will be announced in May after the conference’s Spring General Meetings.
Cover photo via ACAC