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North, South Korea to field joint teams in 3 sports at Asian Games

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The Olympic Council of Asia says North and South Korea will field combined teams in three sports — canoeing, rowing and women’s basketball — at the Asian Games in the latest sign of cooperation between the countries.

The Koreas will also march together at the opening and closing ceremonies at the games in Indonesia from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.

Ties between the neighbors have improved since the PyeongChang Olympics in South Korea in February, when the nations marched together in the Opening Ceremony and fielded a unified women’s hockey team.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed at a summit in April to jointly participate in international sports events.

Vinod Kumar Tiwari, the OCA director of international and National Olympic Committee relations, says on Thursday, “This will be an historic Asian Games for the Olympic Council of Asia and for the continent because it will be the first time that North Korea and South Korea will form a unified team in certain sports.

“They have marched together before in the opening ceremony, and we are delighted that they are extending their joint cooperation further in the spirit of unity and friendship.”

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Korea Olympic hockey coach takes high school job

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Sarah Murray, who coached the joint Korean Olympic women’s hockey team in PyeongChang, will coach the Owatonna High School girls team in her native Minnesota starting this fall.

Murray has not responded to a request for comment though the school on whether this means she is leaving the South Korean national team program.

Murray, 30, guided the joint Korean Olympic team to an 0-5 record. The tournament underdogs scored in three games and were within two goals of Switzerland.

Three weeks before the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee approved adding 12 North Koreans to the South Korean Olympic women’s hockey team, making it the first joint Korean team in any Olympic event.

Murray initially had mixed feelings.

“It’s exciting to be a part of something that’s so historic, to have two countries so divided come together through sports,” Murray said in January, according to Yonhap News Agency. “I think the story is great, and to be a part of it is important. But at the same time, it’s mixed feelings because it’s at the expense of, ‘We don’t get to play our full roster.’”

She expressed optimism after the Games.

“We have really enjoyed working with the North’s players and coaches, and we really do want to help them in the future,” Murray said, according to The Associated Press, adding that a possible “exchange game” was discussed to maintain the connection. “They want to get better, they want to keep learning from us and we want to help them. And there are things that we can learn from them, too.”

Murray won two NCAA titles as a player at Minnesota-Duluth. Her father, Andy Murray, spent 10 seasons coaching the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues in the 2000s.

She replaces an Otawonna coach who stepped down to focus on the girls lacrosse program and spend more time with his family.

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MORE: South Korea hockey team misses playing with North Koreans

U.S. men’s hockey team gets its most lopsided win at worlds in 56 years

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The U.S. men’s hockey team routed South Korea 13-1 in world championship group play Friday, its most lopsided win at worlds since 1962, according to USA Hockey.

Captain Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins each tallied two goals and three assists in Herning, Denmark. The U.S. has won all five of its games — its first five-game streak to open worlds since 1933, according to TeamUSA.org — and should clinch a quarterfinal berth this weekend.

The 12-goal differential was the U.S.’ largest margin of victory at worlds since a 14-2 win over Norway in 1962. The U.S. last won an Olympic game by 12 goals or more in 1948.

The U.S. became the latest nation to beat up on South Korea, making its worlds debut after winning a lower-division world title last year. The Americans outshot the Olympic host 57-13.

Finland beat South Korea 8-1 last Saturday, and Canada did so 10-0 a day later. Through five of seven group-play games, South Korea has a goal differential of minus-39.

South Korea also lost all three of its group-play games in its Olympic debut in PyeongChang by a combined 14-1 before being eliminated by Finland 5-2 in the playoffs.

The U.S. is trying to earn the nation’s first world title since 1960, when the Olympics doubled as worlds, and third medal in six years. Its only title at a standalone worlds came in 1933.

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