The whole world is a stage and in 2018 we’re just watching it play out. As sports fans, we’re just waiting for the next big thing to happen: The Olympics. This has been on everyone’s mind for a while. Not only are NHL players not allowed to partake in the games this year, but they’re also taking place in South Korea. Which is an even bigger deal now that players from North Korea have joined the South Korean hockey team.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, this might not seem like a big deal. But, for those who have been paying attention to international politics, this is huge. North Korea sending their hockey players to join the South Korean team is something new for the North to do. This is a country who doesn’t allow its citizens to see anything besides the propaganda its dictator allows them to see. So, by sending its athletes to play along with others could be a big step in the country possibly opening their doors via the sports world.
Now I’m not saying hockey will be the sole reason relations between the Koreas will automatically get better but, I do think that it’ll be a stepping stone in the right direction. Just think about the Miracle On Ice game for a second. This took place when international politics were so tense that the Doomsday Clock had been moved so close to a possible global catastrophe that it set a new record. Yet, that one game meant so much to so many people and it sent a message which is exactly what these athletes are doing now.
My opinion on the whole thing? I think it’s a step in the right direction. Clearly, this is an olive branch from one country to another, albeit a small olive branch. Hockey could be the thing that North Korea uses to help their diplomacy with countries they would otherwise have hostile relations with; I’m looking at you, United States. Whether or not the North Korean government has some other endgame they want to get out of this is something else altogether.
Many people do not think that sports and politics should mix but I disagree. When something is playing out on the global field, sport and politics will inevitably mix. Hockey could be the thing that starts easing global tensions in these crazy times.
Do you have your own opinion on this? Drop us a line over on Twitter at @puckitupblog and let us know what you think!