By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asia Weekly
As a boy from Seoul, South Korea, David Min is a contestant. His elder brother was his main competitor during his growth. This allowed him to start playing hockey, and he will now train the next generation of players as the youth coach of the Seattle Sea Monsters hockey team this fall.
“It’s as simple as I have a crazy competitive advantage,” Min said of his interest in the sport. Min followed his brother and started playing hockey in South Korea.
“I just want to be cooler and better than him,” Min joked. “For me, it (skating) is always fun,” Min reflects on the most important part of hockey. “I never thought it was difficult.” He recalled that when his brother and mother went to British Columbia to find a relocation site, they brought back a bunch of hockey equipment for the boys, and Min was caught in the sport. Sold.
At the age of 5, Min flew alone from South Korea to British Columbia to meet with his brother and mother who had found a home in the new country. His father was still working in South Korea at the time.
Because he does not speak English, Min cannot communicate with the outside world except hockey in his new home.
“I can’t speak, I can’t read, but I do play hockey.” Time on ice helped him navigate a new culture that was very different from where he grew up. When he was 7 years old, when people hit him with their fists on the ice, he could tell that people liked him. This is what he has in common with continuing to learn English and encouraging him to become better.
While living in Canada, he did not go to school in BC, but went to golf courses, hockey fields, and watched SpongeBob SquarePants at home. Through the outside world, he learned English through sports.
When Min’s family moved to the United States, he moved to Bellevue, Washington, where he attended the second grade. When testing his English, his school asked him if he had taken an English as a second language course because he was proficient in English. But he said he learned from hockey. While in Bellevue, he played hockey with Sno-King Amateur Hockey in the East.
After retiring from competitive hockey, he returned to coach there for the past 4 years.
He went to East Gate Elementary School, Tilikum Middle School and Newport High School. In his senior year of high school, he left home to play for the club in Valencia, California.
As a child, Min didn’t have the resources to look for opportunities to play in a hockey club. Fortunately, he got personal help and the help of his brother. He had the opportunity to play hockey in a preparatory school in 8th grade, which required him to run away from home. But Min wanted to wait. When he moved to Valencia, he lived with a host family.
For those who want to play, hockey is not a cheap sport. Players must have a lot of equipment, and Min’s family has also experienced financial difficulties, which makes shopping a burden.
“I remember for two consecutive years, my mother asked me to sit down before the start of the hockey season and ask,’Do you really want to play?'” This problem is due to limited family resources and the sport will bring them financial burden. I can feel and feel the struggle.”
Min said that some hockey clubs and teams have “huge amounts of money” or scholarships to help those who cannot afford equipment. He recalled that when he was at Sno-King, he was able to play games for free because of a scholarship.
As he grew older, he felt more empathetic to money issues, and his parents realized that he was passionate about the sport.
“I think they are aware of any financial obstacles I encountered, and I proved to them that I overcome them and become stronger.” He added: “I think they are willing to take risks.”
Min played in Valencia and then went to the Banff Hockey Academy in Alberta, Canada. From there, he went to Iowa, where he won the National North American Division III with the Northern Iowa Bulls. “They are incredible opportunities,” Min said of his game time.
As one of the few Asians on ice, he received his racist comments.
“When I was young, it was more ice cream cones and rainbows,” Min said of his junior hockey time. “[B]When you get old, it is not on the ice, but under the ice, just like you start to hear something in school. “
“When you don’t look like other people, you tend to stand out,” Min said. “Unfortunately, when it happens on ice, you will feel more. I believe there are many others who face it more frequently and more seriously. I am lucky, I am not one of them. But this Not all great.”
Min said that hockey has already appeared in the Seattle area, and maybe it caters to those who are familiar with the sport or have a family presence. He pointed out before the NHL that the ice rink is full and the show is getting bigger and bigger. With Kraken, it will expand further.
“I never thought that the opportunity was right in front of me,” he said of his position in Kraken. “At the time, I was planning to move to Finland.” Min was admitted to a hockey coaching school and hoped to continue his coaching education. However, he received a call from Kraken and he seized the opportunity to become a member of its youth development team.
His job is to establish grassroots programs and enable everyone to participate in the sport. He will work with the NHL’s “Learning Competition” program and the 8U, 10U, and 12U age groups that will participate in the Met Hockey League. He will also teach adult clinics. These plans will be carried out at the Northgate Kraken training facility.
For more information, please visit nhl.com/kraken/community/youth-hockey.
Jason Cruz can be at [email protected].