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Two-Time Stanley Cup Champion Joins Griffins Staff

- The Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League on Thursday named Jim Paek (PAK) as the team’s assistant coach. He will serve alongside head coach Greg Ireland as the Griffins prepare to open their tenth anniversary season on Oct. 8.

Paek, 38, won consecutive Stanley Cup championships as a defenseman with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992. During five seasons in the NHL, he tallied 34 points (5-29—34) and 155 penalty minutes in 217 games with Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators.

“Jim is a very strong communicator and a first-class person,” said Ireland. “It’s impressive that he’s won a championship at every level – two Stanley Cup rings, two Turner Cups, an OHL championship – and he’s played under some of the best coaches in the game. There’s something to be said for coming out of those winning environments.

“Winning breeds winning, and that’s the culture we want to continue to foster. Jim’s strong communication skills and knowledge of playing the position of defense will go a long way towards doing that,” added Ireland.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Paek became the first Korean to both play in the NHL and have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. In recognition of those accomplishments, Paek’s Penguins jersey is displayed in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

While in Pittsburgh, he was named the team’s 1992 rookie of the year and was the co-winner of its 1993 community service award.

Traded to Los Angeles with former Griffin Marty McSorley for Tomas Sandstrom and Shawn McEachern on Feb. 16, 1994, Paek had the distinction of counting both Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky as teammates. During his 16-year career, he also learned from some of hockey’s most accomplished coaches, including the legendary Scotty Bowman, “Badger” Bob Johnson, and current Dallas Stars head coach Dave Tippett.

Paek began his professional career with a three-year stint in Muskegon, Mich., during which he helped the IHL’s Lumberjacks win the 1989 Turner Cup. He added a fourth and final cup to his resume in 1999 as a member of the IHL’s Houston Aeros.

Upon retiring in 2003, Paek was named head coach of the WHA2’s Orlando Seals, guiding the club to a 27-25-5 record in 2003-04 and coaching in the league’s all-star game. Last season, he returned home to Cleveland and served as an assistant coach for the St. Edwards High School team that won the Ohio state championship, and co-coach of the Cleveland Panthers bantam minor squad that captured the Eastern Elite Amateur Hockey League title.

“From my time with Cleveland in the IHL, I know what a great organization Grand Rapids is,” said Paek. “The Griffins’ reputation, ownership and affiliation with Detroit were all attractive to me. They have a winning tradition, a passion for the game, and they want to win. You couldn’t ask for a better organization.”

Paek, along with his wife, Kortney, and their children, Megan and Kyler, will relocate to the Grand Rapids area in the coming weeks.

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Grand Rapids Griffins
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Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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