Jim Paek, the longest-tenured coach ever for the Grand Rapids Griffins, is leaving to become director of hockey for the Korea Ice Hockey Association (KIHA) and head coach of the Korean Men’s National Team.
Paek, 47, has been an assistant coach for the Griffins for nine of the team’s 18 seasons, beginning in 2005. A native of Seoul, South Korea, Park was raised in Toronto and earned his U.S. citizenship in 2011.
Under Paek’s leadership, South Korea will attempt to earn its first-ever Olympic hockey berth. The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang.
“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.”
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.
Good for him, I hope he can put together a respectable team in 4 years. It seems like a longshot, but even a country like Japan has played in the Olympics eight times.
Blash now will bring in two new assistant coaches. I wonder how this will impact the Wings' prospect pool.