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South Korean Olympics Hockey Hero Cho Min-Ho Dies at 35

Cho Min-Ho, South Korea’s first Olympic hockey goalscorer, died Wednesday of lung cancer, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced. He was 35.

Cho died in a Seoul hospital on Wednesday, according to the IIHF. He shared with his teammates last fall that he was suffering from lung cancer.

“The Korean ice hockey family will remember him not only as a great player but also as a great human and leader on and off the ice,” the IIHF said in a statement.

In 2018, Cho made history at the PyeongChang Olympics in his home country. Playing in South Korea’s first game of the competition against the Czech Republic, he scored the country’s first ever Olympic ice hockey goal 7:34 into the contest. 

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Czech Republic responded with two goals to win the opener 2–1. 

“I thought it would be amazing if I did more better,” Cho said that night, according to The Associated Press. “I tried my best to perform the best that I can to show many fans that came here.”

Cho, a Korea University graduate whose No. 87 jersey number marked his birth year, first joined the South Korean national team in 2008. He played in 11 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship tournaments and the 2018 Olympic Games, missing just one major international event in 2009. 

Most recently, Cho represented South Korea as team captain in the Final Olympic Qualification for the 2022 Beijing Olympics in August 2021.