Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/23/14 at 07:11 AM ET
from Adam Steiss of IIHF.com,
The Korea Ice Hockey Association has announced Jim Paek as the new head coach of the men’s national team. Paek was the first Korean-born player to play in the National Hockey League. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the ninth round, 170th overall, in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft.
A two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins, Paek was also named as a Program Director of the national team team along with his new head coaching duties. The former defenceman will replace Byoen Sun-Wook, who coached the team for three years but resigned after Korea was relegated at the 2014 IIHF World Championship Division I Group A.
Paek will be counted on to guide Korea as it looks to gain qualification to the 2018 Winter Olympics, set to be held on home soil in PyeongChang.
“The idea of coaching the National Team in the Olympics is one of my dreams. 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.”
Update: MLive's Peter J. Wallner confirms:
Paek will remain with Grand Rapids through next week, and serve as lead instructor for the Griffins’ annual youth hockey camp at Griff’s IceHouse.
“It was a really hard decision,” said Paek, who was in Seoul for three days last week. “Detroit and Grand Rapids, that’s been pretty much my whole career. Nine years. My family is here and it has been everything to me here.”
The Detroit organization and Griffins coach Jeff Blashill will begin a search for a new lead assistant. The Griffins are also still looking to replace second assistant Spiros Anastas, who left after the season to become coach at University of Lethbridge.
“The Detroit Red Wings congratulate Jim Paek on his appointment to the Korea Ice Hockey Association and Korean National Team,” Ryan Martin, assistant general manager of the Red Wings, said in a press release.
“We are thrilled and excited for him on his well-deserved opportunity. With the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, this is a tremendous opportunity for Jim to oversee the development of hockey players, coaches and administrators across all levels of hockey in his native South Korea.”
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