Sarah Murray, left, is coach of the Pan Korean women's ice hockey team ©Getty Images

Sarah Murray, the Canadian head coach of the unified Korean women's ice hockey team, insists chemistry between players from North and South is "better than expected" as they prepare to make Olympic history here.

The team's encounter with Switzerland on Saturday (February 10) will mark the first time that North and South Korean players have ever competed together as one team at the Olympic Games.

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

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

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

The team has been considered controversial by some, though, for political reasons as it is seen by some in the South Korea as a concession too far.

Murray herself initially expressed concerns that it may disrupt the rhythm of South Korean players, but now believes the team are gelling well.

"Our team being put together was a political statement but now that the team is together, we are just one team," she said following a training session at the Kwandong Hockey Centre.

"Now it is hockey and we are here to compete. 

"We feel strangely calm given everything that is going on. 

"For the situation we are in, we feel good.

"The chemistry is better than I could have expected."

Team Korea lost a warm-up game against Sweden in Incheon ©Getty Images
Team Korea lost a warm-up game against Sweden in Incheon ©Getty Images

Murray added: "When I heard they were joining our team I thought worst-case scenario, we are going to be separate, our players are not going to talk - but it is fantastic.

"The head coach that they brought, he has been amazing and without him we could not be doing what we are doing.

"He is very open to suggestions.

"All the meetings are together - all the meals are together.

"Our players are together, in the locker room, they mix and talk. 

"This is our family and this is great."

North and South Korea marching together at the Opening Ceremony of Sydney 2000 ©Getty Images
North and South Korea marching together at the Opening Ceremony of Sydney 2000 ©Getty Images

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach is looking forward to North and South Korea marching together under the unification flag at the Pyeongchang 2018 Opening Ceremony tomorrow.

The German travelled to North Korea as part of an IOC delegation to help organise a similar march at Sydney 2000.

"For me, the experience we made in Sydney made a major difference," Bach said. 

"I was involved in the first negotiations, travelling to Pyongyang and starting the first talks with the North Koreans about joint activities.

"The negotiations lasted until the last minutes before the Opening Ceremony and it was all about protocol and who would wear which uniform and who would be marching here and there, and at some moments it was terrible. 

"Then, in the end, the athletes met in the tunnel to march in, they took each other by the hands and marched in. 

"This is the Olympic Games. I guess you will see the same on Friday."

North Korea's delegation are also being officially welcomed into the Athletes' Village here today.