IIHF President René Fasel has spoken about a unified Korean ice hockey team potentially being at Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel claims to be hopeful that a unified team consisting of players from North and South Korea will appear again at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Swiss official also confirmed that the women's tournament will grow from eight to 10 teams in the Chinese capital following a request from local organisers.

This follows a similar move to extend the size of the Women's World Championships from eight to 10 teams as of 2019.

Fasel claimed that this move was possible because of the increasingly competitive nature of the women's competition as more teams come closer to challenging the might of Canada and United States. 

Any form of a North, South or unified Korean team will not qualify automatically in four years' time, but he is keen to consider a repeat of the unified team.

"We are thinking about this, whether we should continue," Fasel said. 

"I say, 'Why not?'

"I think that would be good to do it in 2022, to go to the Beijing Olympics, to keep the North and South Korean team. 

"It is a message of peace and we hope to continue that - we will try."

The unified Korean team have played three games at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty Images
The unified Korean team have played three games at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty Images

A total of 12 players from North Korea participated alongside 23 from the South in an enlarged squad.

A total of 22 of the 35 players featured in each game, with at least three of these having to be North Korean.

They competed under the name "Korea", with the unification flag displayed.

The team lost 8-0 in their opening two matches against Switzerland and Sweden before scoring their first goal in a 4-1 reverse to Japan.

Pyeongchang 2018 President Lee Hee-beom spoke enthusiastically about the unified team continuing.

"This team is a symbol of peace in the Olympic Games," he claimed.

"Only sports can unify the people, beyond the politics, beyond the barriers, and putting players from North and South Korea on the same team was a very proud moment, one that is a true symbol of peace. 

"Welcoming 12 athletes from North Korea was a historic moment.

"We had only two weeks to practice and prepare as a team. 

"That was too short to prepare for the Games [so] we will continue to discuss this issue about Beijing."