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Ex-NHLer Paek to coach Korea, with goal of participating in 2018 Olympics

Jul 23, 2014, 11:34 AM EDT

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Jim Paek, the first Korean-born NHLer, has been hired by the Korea Ice Hockey Association to coach the national team, with the lofty goal of participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

“The idea of coaching the National Team in the Olympics is one of my dreams,” Paek said, per the IIHF. “I’ve always wanted to help develop Korean hockey. I’ve returned to Korea many times to run hockey schools and coached Korean teams travelling to Canada. What a great opportunity I have now.”

Paek has been an assistant with AHL Grand Rapids since 2005, so he’s no stranger to the job of coaching. But getting Korea into the Olympics will be a challenge. The country is currently ranked 23rd in the world and in danger of not receiving an automatic bid as host nation in 2018.

“It’s a great challenge,” he said, “but if we are organized and have a plan and teach the process good things will come. We cannot lose focus on the process.”

  1. valoisvipers - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Good luck achieving that goal.

  2. patthehockeyfan - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Good luck to Paek. I hope to see him and a Korean National Team compete in the 2018 Olympics.

  3. thecheeman - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    I remember Paek on the Mario Lemieux cup teams. A decade later while living in England I saw him play for the Nottingham Panthers in whatever that league in the UK is called. Best player on the team I was told.

    Enough about me I guess. The NHL ought to throw some money behind Paek’s training program. The NHL doesn’t get a lot openings to make itself popular in new markets like this. Send over two teams of NHL guys for a couple exhibitions (no hard checking) one summer, fill out Seoul’s main arena for two nights. No brainer stuff.

    It’s a good idea even if the NHL has no interest in participating in the 2018 Olympics.

    • hockey412 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      That would be good….OR they can require everyone who wants to play to pay an arm and a leg for an annual registration process, like USA Hockey does.

      No knock on USA Hockey, I understand…but an extra 5 for an ‘affiliate fee’? STOP IT.

      • hockey412 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        Sorry – my point in all that was: if you want to build something quicker than slow, don’t make it a sport that only the well-off can afford and then add extra obstacles.

  4. lowenni - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    One of best friends is from Korea and came over in highschool after playing hockey all his life in Korea. He tore up our league. Their program is definitely developing and he’s told me that they’re working hard to participate in Olympic hockey as the host country. I’ll be really interested to see what Paek, who was only an assistant coach in the AHL, can do. Best of luck to him and the Korean national team.

  5. c9castine - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Jimmy paek! Thought he was working at marios house

    Good for him.

    • theageofquarrel - Jul 23, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      Doing the laundry?

      • 22yearsagotoday - Jul 23, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        Politically incorrect.

      • c9castine - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:20 PM

        Yeah you know, laundry, skimming the pool, tracking the wine stock…

        Its kinda an inside joke from a local radio station

      • c9castine - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:04 AM

  6. hockeyflow33 - Jul 23, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    Note to self, obtain citizenship in Korea….preferably South Korea

  7. justanotherphillyfan - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    They first have to beat The Netherlands to achieve that goal.

    We became 2nd and 3rd during the last two world cups, good luck with that.

  8. winnipegwonder - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    Oh what a nice story for the morning

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