By Willie T. Smith III
The Greenville News
November 11, 2003
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Han Sung Kim stunned his Greenville Grrrowl coach and teammates before a recent practice.
He greeted them with a smile and, “Good morning!”
What’s so stunning about that?
When Kim, a star hockey player at Korea University, arrived in the United States a month ago, he couldn’t speak English.
But Kim has been full of surprises in his first month of professional hockey. His transition to the American ice has been smooth; the first lifelong Korean to play professionally in North America, Kim scored the Grrrowl’s first goal this season and leads the team with four goals and an assist.
Life off the ice is taking more time.
The Grrrowl knew finding Kim the best possible environment away from the rink would be important to his transition. Ken Shin, professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina and a native of South Korea, agreed.
“Due to his language barrier, his social life would be limited,” Shin said. “If there are some Korean and Korean-American families in the community … they would be very helpful.”