When Randi Griffin scored Korea’s first goal in the team’s final preliminary-round game against Japan, she undoubtedly wanted the puck back.
It wasn’t a beauty, but Griffin’s score was Korea’s first-ever Olympic hockey goal—men’s or women’s. And it had added significance after the South Korean women’s team combined with its northern neighbors to become a unified Korean squad just before the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Kwandong Hockey Centre erupted when the puck trickled into the net, and Griffin disappeared into a pile of leaping bodies.
When she emerged and got set for the restart, the puck was gone.
Martin Hyun, deputy sport manager for hockey at the PyeongChang Games, had jumped out of his seat as soon as he saw the lamp light up: first out of celebration, and then out of desperation. He sprinted to referee Drahomira Fialova to make sure she didn’t drop the same puck to resume the game, and he went to the scorekeeper’s table to retrieve it.