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

Jul 23, 2014, 11:34 AM EST

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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.”

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