While the Korean hockey team didn't secure a place in the Olympics during their time in Stratford, they did leave with positive memories of the town.

Those memories were almost spoilt after a midnight theft left some of the players without shoes.

"We put the shoes outside the motel rooms and when we woke up they had gone."

Team captain, Lee Nam Yong said the players were upset to discover their hockey shoes had been taken in the middle of the night.


"We needed shoes to replace them as we needed them to play."

When committee members of the Stratford Business Association (SBA) heard of the team's plight, they were quick to react.

"We wanted to show the players the theft was not something our town tolerates. So we decided to gift the team some money to replace the special shoes they needed to buy," says Matthew Dimock, SBA chair.

On Friday, before the Korean team played the Black Sticks over the weekend, Matthew visited them at their practice game on the TET Hockey Turf in Stratford and surprised them with the gift.

"We just want you to know our town loves having international hockey played in the town, and we don't want the theft of your shoes to spoil your time here."

Matthew was joined by Allister Thomas, chair of Hockey Taranaki, who reiterated the message.

"We love our town, and want you to love it to. We are sorry your shoes were taken, and hope this helps you replace them."

The Korean team manager, Kim Byung Hoon, said the gift was appreciated.


"The players are able to replace their shoes which is good."

Lee Nam Yong, who plays in the No 6 shirt as well as captaining the team, said the gesture was appreciated by all the players and gave his thanks to the community for the gift.

"We say thank you, and it means a lot. Thank you Stratford."