February 14, 2018 / 2:01 PM / 3 months ago

Brandt sisters leave mark but no family showdown

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) - Greg and Robin Brandt traveled half way around the world to watch their daughters play Olympic hockey, but the prospect of seeing them on the ice together in Pyeongchang is now over.

FILE PHOTO: Hannah Brandt (C) and her adopted sister Marissa (2nd L) celebrate Christmas with their parents Greg and Robin along with Marissa's husband Brett Ylonen at their home in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S., December 25, 2017. REUTERS/Adam Bettcher

“That’s probably a good thing,” Greg Brandt said on Wednesday while watching daughter Marissa’s game against the unified Korean women’s team. “The thought of that would have been a little overwhelming.”

Marissa’s sister Hannah is almost certainly in the hunt for a gold medal with Team USA. But Marissa - or Park Soyoung as she is known in Korean - now will only be playing for final tournament rankings after the Koreans were eliminated from medal contention.

The Brandts adopted Marissa about 26 years ago, and Robin Brandt delivered Hannah a few months later. The girls turned to hockey growing up together in Minnesota.

Marissa has been playing hockey with the South Korean national team for about three years and is one of half a dozen North Americans of Korean heritage on the squad, which was recently expanded to add 12 North Korean players.

While there may not be a Brandt-v-Brandt tussle on the slate at the Olympics, both daughters have delivered a moment to make their parents proud.

Hannah scored her first goal in Tuesday’s U.S. victory over the Olympic Athletes of Russia, and Marissa had the assist on Korea’s only goal of the tournament. That means both earned an official point in Olympic play.

“I didn’t even think of that,” Greg said, moments after watching Marissa’s assist on team mate Randi Heesoo Griffin’s goal.

“Hannah getting her first goal was a real thrill and Marissa getting a point? Yeah!”

Reporting by Dan Burns, editing by Ed Osmond

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