We are the Pyongyang Ice Hockey league (PIHL) and we bring hockey players to North Korea –for the third time– for a groundbreaking Friendship Game with the national ice hockey team to support people with disabilities in the DPRK. AMA!
We believe in the power of sport to build bridges between even the most distanced cultures, and that through such engagement anything is possible. Further, we believe that sport isn’t inherently political in nature, and that geopolitics should never prevent communities from interacting with each other. It was these two beliefs that led us to start the Pyongyang Ice Hockey League which is aimed at creating cross cultural engagement between ordinary people in the DPRK and the international community.
And we’ve proven our assumptions to be accurate. Last year, myself and my colleague Gordon Israel travelled to Pyongyang, DPR (North) Korea with a group of international hockey players. It marked the end of lengthy discussions and preparations, during which we negotiated the inclusion of a sports program for individuals with an intellectual disability (ID). We had been told by all external advisors that this would never happen as the DPRK would never let foreigners work with the population in question. In the end, our offer to play hockey was the spark that facilitated our groundbreaking and ongoing efforts to bring disability (ID) sports to the DPRK.
Last March, we went back for a second Pyongyang Ice Hockey League (PIHL) thanks to the continuous efforts and support of our partner, Lupine Travel. Our PIHL 2017 went incredibly well, with both our participants and our North Korean counterparts being very pleased with the outcomes of the trip and we are already discussing organizing the next edition, PIHL 2018, to be held from 3rd to 12th March 2018.
The success of the Pyongyang International Hockey League has led us to start the Howe International Friendship league – a series of events around the world with similar objectives to the PIHL.
And that's not all! Do you know that we also received approval to play against the DPRK soccer national team? Wait, what? Yes, you read well! After organizing several events where our international players played against the North Korean ice hockey national team, we now have the perfect opportunity to bring international players to train and play against the north Korean soccer national team in the world famous 1st of May Stadium. Yet another opportunity to discover the most secretive country on earth from a unique perspective!
The Friendship League team will answer all your questions from now and then the Lupine Travel team will take over to make sure we last as long as possible!
More information at: www.friendshipleague.org Lupine travel: www.lupinetravel.co.uk Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hifriendshipleague Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRfdZx2xXoZhw7POfwEDAMQ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hifriendshipleague