Pyongyang Ice Hockey Experience (PIHE)

Location: Pyongyang, DPR (North) Korea
Host Team: DPRK Men’s and Women’s National Teams
Year(s) Held: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Overview: Initially known as the Pyongyang International Friendship Ice Hockey Exhibition, the PIHE is the most well-known Friendship League event. In just a few years, the PIHE has generated over 70 million media impressions through coverage by NPR, Reuters, The Globe and Mail, The Athletic and more. Trips start in Beijing with a warm-up game with a local expat squad, before players hop aboard the train to Pyongyang. Once in the capital, we play a series of games with the DPRK men’s national team and have practices with both the men’s and women’s teams. After the trip is over, we head to the resort city of Wonsan for some skiing, snowboarding and relaxation.

Over the years, the PIHE has led to some pretty spectacular memories. It was at a PIHE event that the coach of the Unified Korean Hockey Team from the PyeongChang Olympics was first reunited with the North Korean players and coaches. The PIHE also saw 6X Olympian and hockey G.O.A.T. Hayley Wickenheiser coach Friendship-Leaguers as they battled the DPRK side. Every event is different, but it’s safe to say that if you’re looking for the experience of a lifetime, a future PIHE is a good bet!

Listen to Alex Frecon talk to NPR about his first adventure with the Friendship League.