Korean Citizenship Gives Former Colorado College Tiger Mike Testwuide Olympic Opportunity

By Paisley, Joe | The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), March 29, 2015 | Go to article overview

Korean Citizenship Gives Former Colorado College Tiger Mike Testwuide Olympic Opportunity


Paisley, Joe, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO)


Former Colorado College center Mike Testwuide couldn't turn down a chance to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

A few weeks ago, new South Korean men's ice hockey national team coach Jim Paek approached the former Pikes Peak Miner to see if he would apply for dual citizenship. That would allow him to play for his adopted country, which automatically qualifies as the host in PyeongChang.

He became a South Korean citizen March 23.

"The possibility had been mentioned a few times throughout the past two years but mostly just rumors," said the forward, who plays professionally for Anyang Halla (Seoul suburb) of the Asian League. "The process has been very fast; it has taken about a month. I definitely studied the most Korean since I have been here in the last month including memorizing the Korean national anthem."

Testwuide (2006-10) could be the first former Tiger to compete in the Olympics since defenseman Rob Doyle (1983-87) did so for Austria in 1994. Doyle, a Canada native, was the first to obtain dual citizenship during a 17-year career in Germany and Austria following two years in the American Hockey League.

In 2011, South Korea sped up the process to allow foreigners dual citizenship to bolster its Olympic teams.

Naturalization may help Testwuide professionally. He no longer counts against the three-import limit, which could make him more attractive to one of the three Korean teams in the league.

The American's performance makes him a good signing as well. Testwuide recorded 61 points (32 assists) in 46 regular-season games, second on the team, 12th in the league, and fourth among imports.

"I am one of the biggest guys in the league and definitely use it to my advantage," the 6-foot-2, 212-pounder said.

He has seen hockey take root in his adopted country. With a strong tradition of figure and speedskating, the country of 50.3 million has 42 rinks but only 2,100 registered players, up from 1,722 two years ago.

"Hockey is definitely gaining momentum and becoming more popular all the time," he said. "There is a lot of hype starting to build for the upcoming Olympics and hockey is part of the excitement."

That and how welcome he and Colorado Springs native Jeff Dimmen, an Anyang defenseman, have felt, made the decision an easy one.

"Korean hockey is like a big family," he said. …

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