2 N. American ice hockey players become S. Korean citizens for 2018 Winter Olympics

March 23, 2015
Mike Testwuide (Courtesy of Asia League Ice Hockey)

Mike Testwuide (Courtesy of Asia League Ice Hockey)

Korean Canadian hockey player Caroline Park (Yonhap)

Korean Canadian hockey player Caroline Park (Yonhap)

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) — Two ice hockey players from North America have acquired South Korean citizenship and will represent their adopted home at international competitions, the justice ministry said Monday.

The two are Mike Testwuide, an American-born ice hockey player playing for Anyang Halla of Asia League Ice Hockey since 2013, and Caroline Nancy Park, a Korean Canadian who played in the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Division 1 at Princeton University. Park joined the South Korean women’s national ice hockey team in 2013.

The Ministry of Justice approved their naturalization on Friday in accordance with a revised immigration law that allows qualified foreign nationals to hold multiple citizenships.

The Korean Olympic Committee had asked the ministry to fast-track their naturalization to help the South Korean national hockey teams qualify at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

South Korea currently ranks 23rd and 24th in men’s and women’s hockey, respectively, according to the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Canadian ice hockey players Michael Swift, left, and Brian Young smile as they hold up Korean citizenship papers earlier this year. (Yonhap)

Canadian ice hockey players Michael Swift, left, and Brian Young smile as they hold up Korean citizenship papers last year. (Yonhap)

In 2014, two Canadian ice hockey players, Brian Young and Michael Swift, became naturalized citizens here.

This year, the ministry also granted a South Korean passport to Han In-suk, a Korean-American professor in biochemistry, who now heads the South Korean campus of the University of Utah in Incheon, west of Seoul.

South Korea implemented the new immigration law in 2011 to cut the red tape in nationality review procedures and allow talented foreigners, such as chiefs of government agencies, legal institutions and universities as well as leaders in the fields of business, sports and science to have multiple citizenships.

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