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Alex Frecon '05 Plays Hockey in North Korea

Friday, June 30, 2017

Alex Frecon ’05 is known for his creativity in the advertising world. As a copywriter at the Fallon ad agency in Minneapolis and writer/producer of viral videos on his own, he is never short of ideas.

But when he saw a Reddit story about representing the U.S. in a hockey summit in North Korea, few people would have ever imagined it would become a reality.

“When I saw this trip to North Korea, I thought, ‘This is a cross between two things that I love – one being hockey and the other being adventures,” says Frecon. “I asked a bunch of questions (over the course of a month he had exchanged 72 emails with the coordinating agency) and just said, ‘OK, I’m going to do this.’”

Frecon joined the hockey team representing the U.S., which was sponsored by Howe International Friendship League (HIFL). According to their website, HIFL is a series of international events with the simple objectives of promoting goodwill and building friendship between cultures around the world through the power of sport, as well as supporting sport programs for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

While Frecon isn’t a professional hockey player for his career, his love of the game drew him to participate.

“The whole draw for me was knowing that I’d be playing against players who are really good but also the intangible of – like any athlete’s pipe dream – playing for a team that represents their country,” says Frecon.

Throughout the trip, he documented his experience on video and returned with a story to tell – although sharing the story through video wasn’t his original intent.

“I actually didn’t have any concrete plans to go there and make a video,” remarks Frecon. “The reason I made the video was because, when I got there, I was struck by how normal, polite, and kind the people were.”

Frecon readily admits that he experienced life as a tourist during his visit but still felt as if he saw authenticity in the people he encountered.

“I fully expected it to be this place where everyone I talked to was suspicious of me and wouldn’t open up or be friendly but it was completely the opposite,” adds Frecon. “Kids are waving to you on the street and saying “hello” in the little English they speak. It instilled in me this idea that where you are from doesn’t define who you are. You’re a human being wherever you are.”

Frecon’s video, which can be found on his website at has been viewed more than 100,000 times.