South Korea hires former NHLer Jim Paek to coach its national team

Ottawa Senators' Jim Paek checks Buffalo Sabres' Donald Audette during a 1995 game at the Buffalo...

Ottawa Senators' Jim Paek checks Buffalo Sabres' Donald Audette during a 1995 game at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. (QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:17 PM ET

The South Koreans have turned to a former NHLer ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Two-time Stanley Cup winner Jim Paek was named the Asian nation's men's ice hockey coach Wednesday in Seoul.

Paek, a 47-year-old of Korean descent, moved to Canada when he was a year old.

Drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1985, Paek had brief NHL stints from 1990 to 1995 when he played 217 combined games for the Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings and the Penguins, where he won a pair of Stanley Cup championships.

The retired defenceman scored five goals and 29 points during his brief time in the NHL.

"It's long been a dream to lead the national team of my native country," Paek told South Korea's Yonhap News Agency. "It's a great honour to have the opportunity to realize this dream."

The 2018 Games were awarded to Pyeongchang, South Korea prior to the Sochi Games. South Korea has never participated in ice hockey at a Winter Olympics.

"It will be a huge challenge to try to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics," Paek said. "But if we can set up meticulous plans and concentrate on accomplishing our goal, then we can expect good results."

The Koreans are currently ranked No. 23 in the world.

Rene Fasel, the International Ice Hockey Federation’s president, has said he might consider letting South Korea automatically participate in 2018 if it improves its world ranking.


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