When Christian Kim lands in Spain next month, it will be his third trip to Europe in as many years with his East Coast Selects ‘05 teammates. At 14-years-old, the talented forward will have played in World Selects Invitational tournaments in Bolzano, Chamonix and San Sebastian.
What is it that keeps Kim coming back for the WSI year after year? He relishes the opportunity to compete against elite talent.
“We play to compete with the world’s best in our age group and we form great teamwork by being together throughout the trip,” he said. “I’m very thankful to be a part of this great team. I’ve had the opportunity to play hockey at the highest level against players from all over the world.”
Kim didn’t know what to expect when he traveled to Bolzano for his first WSI event back in 2017. Everything was new to him; the rink was bigger, he was meeting new teammates, competing against different opponents and exploring a foreign country. Year two in France was easier for him.
“I was more comfortable because I got to play with many players that I met the year before,” he said. “I was able to figure out each player’s styles and how to improve my game as I played against other teams.”
The results reflected that sentiment. At the 2018 WSI, Kim led his ECS-05 team with 10 points, including a team-leading seven assists.
The bonds forged amongst teammates – and even opponents – off the ice are just as integral to the WSI experience as what happens on the ice. Christian said his favorite memories include eating gelato almost every day in Italy, eating prosciutto for breakfast and spending time with hockey players from different countries.
At the end of the day, however, Kim and his East Coast Selects teammates have one goal in mind for 2019 – win the whole thing.
“This year we’re going to set the bar high and win 2019 WSI in Spain,” he said.
They don’t plan on stopping there, either.
He’s focused on building a strong relationship with his team and his coach in 2019 that can help them improve to win the 2020 WSI in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Regardless of what happens this year in San Sebastian, Kim credited the Selects program and WSI with giving him the opportunity to play with talented players he never would have crossed paths with otherwise.
“I’m fortunate to play in one of the best tournaments with very skilled players,” he said. “It’s a completely different level of play. It’s challenging but I’ve gained a lot.”
The puck drops for the 2019 World Selects Invitational on April 16th in Chamonix, France, and runs through May 11th with nine divisions competing in seven different countries. Click HERE for more information on the World Selects Invitational and contact us HERE if you’re interested in getting in touch for future sports tours!