USA Hockey Magazine

February 2018

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L ike many youth players, Mike Testwuide dreamed of competing in the Olympics. Those childhood hopes included donning a Team USA jersey. But four seasons in the Asia L e a g u e c r e a t e d a n u n e x p e c t - ed opportunity for the Colorado native t o b e c o m e a W i n t e r O l y m p i a n i n PyeongChang, South Korea. Years living in Seoul—a big city he enjoys as much as his hometown of Vail—made South Korea feel like his second home. Even then, it took time for him to reconcile his dream of playing for a country other than the U.S. "I think any athlete growing up who watches the Olympics imagines them- selves on that stage," he said. "When I was asked to get Korean citizenship the possi- bility became very real but it didn't really hit me until this year." Testwuide has heard some negativi- ty, with some wondering how he could potentially compete against the U.S., while others were critical of him taking a native's roster spot. But his time competing with his Korean teammates has eased his initial trepidation. "I have battled with these guys for the last four years and have become very close with all of my teammates here," he said. "We have built something special and these guys are like family to me." Testwuide, who became a dual citizen in March 2015, knows there is a chance he may face his home country. If seeding holds, Pool A's Korea could face the Pool B winner, which may be the United States. If that happens, his loyalty will be with his new team. "When I'm on the ice and in the locker room I am very much Korean," said the 6-foot-5, 210-pound winger. "It may seem strange to a lot of people but I wouldn't have become naturalized unless I felt very connected to my teammates and the supporting people for Team Korea." Colorado Native Is Looking To Help Grow Hockey In His Adopted Country While Living His Olympic Dream // by Joe Paisley 30 // 2018 OLYMPIC PREVIEW USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM THE IMPORTANT IMPORT Photos by Cheol Bin Shin

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