The longest-tenured coach in Grand Rapids Griffins history, who played on two Stanley Cup-winning teams, has moved on.
Jim Paek, who had been an assistant coach with the Griffins since 2005, has accepted an offer to become the director of hockey for the Korea Ice Hockey Association and the coach of the country’s national team.
He finished up his tenure with the Griffins last month with a youth camp at Griff’s IceHouse.
“The Detroit Red Wings congratulate Jim Paek on his appointment,” said Ryan Martin, assistant general manager, Detroit Red Wings. “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 47-year-old Paek was born in Seoul, South Korea, before moving and spending his childhood in Toronto. In 2011, he earned his U.S. citizenship.
In Paek’s nine years with the Griffins, he helped develop many future Detroit Red Wings, such as Justin Abdelkader, Jimmy Howard, Gustav Nyquist and Darren Helm, while playing a vital role in the team’s Calder Cup season in 2013.
In 2008, he helped coach the Detroit Red Wings’ extra skaters during the Stanley Cup-winning season.
"He possesses a wealth of experience as a player and coach at all levels, as well as a strong passion for hockey development," Martin said.
Paek has also served as head coach of the WHA2’s Orlando Seals.
Paek spent five seasons in the National Hockey League with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators. He had both Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky as teammates during his playing days.
In 1991 and 1992, he was a part of the Pittsburgh teams that won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.
His Penguins jersey is in the Hockey Hall of Fame as the first Korean to play in the NHL and win the Stanley Cup.
He also won league championships in the International Hockey League with the Muskegon Lumberjacks in 1989 and the Houston Aeros in 1999.
Paek retired from playing hockey in 2003.