Congrats to Sam for Completing the Journey to 193!

Participating in our PIHL 2016 (Pyongyang, North Korea) and TIHL 2018 (Ashgabat, Turkmenistan), Sam has been one of the nicest and most talented hockey players to join us at our events. On 31st December 2019, Sam landed in Brazil, thereby completing his quest to visit every country in the world. Follow his blog Searching4Sam to learn about some of his favorite destinations. Congrats Sam!

Below is Sam’s full review of his trips with us:

I recently became one of the few people in the world to visit all 193 countries. Completing this journey may not have been possible without the Friendship League.

As one of the best travel partners I’ve ever experienced, they played a meaningful role in my journey, facilitating unforgettable visits to both North Korea and Turkmenistan – two off-the-beaten-path and fascinating destinations. After compiling a list of my top travel memories, I ranked my last day in North Korea as number two, following only the experience of landing in my 193rd country!

Coaching the North Korean National Hockey Team was the center point of our trip to the country. On the final night, we mixed up the teams giving our visiting group of guys and the local players the opportunity to skate with and against each other. I played most of this game with two local line mates. Aside from hockey, I probably could not have had less in common with them given my perspective on the world and the life I’ve been fortunate to live. However, once that puck dropped, our relationship ran like a Swiss watch. We knew exactly where to go, what to do and how to best work together to score goals. Nobody cared about political discrepancies, demarcation lines or nuclear weapons. We built a magical bond through the game of hockey and this remarkable demonstration of humanity will forever be one of my best memories from anywhere in the world.

A huge thanks to the Friendship League for making it possible!



Participant, Turkmen Ice Hockey League and Pyongyang Ice Hockey League

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Sport has a unique way of forging cross-cultural connections where few previously existed. Join us to bring changing perspectives in the lives of remote communities.

Gordon Israel
Managing Partner, Howe International

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