Phone: (616) 774-4585Biography:
The longest-tenured coach in franchise history, Jim Paek begins his ninth season as the Griffins assistant coach. He joined the organization on Aug. 11, 2005.
Paek, 46, helped guide Grand Rapids to its first-ever Calder Cup in 2012-13, along with the AHLs regular season championship in 2005-06 and additional playoff berths in 2006-07 and 2008-09. He even took a turn as the teams bench boss for one game in 2008-09, a 4-0 home victory over Philadelphia on Jan. 10, 2009.
In 2008, Paek earned the right to hoist Lord Stanleys Cup for the third time after coaching the Detroit Red Wings black aces during the parent clubs title run. Ironically, that privilege came at the expense of the Pittsburgh Penguins, with whom he won consecutive Stanley Cups as a defenseman in 1991 and 1992. During five seasons in the NHL (1990-95), he tallied 34 points (5-2934) and 155 penalty minutes in 217 games with Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in Toronto, Paek became a U.S. citizen on March 16, 2011. As the first Korean to both play in the NHL and have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup, his Penguins jersey is displayed in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
While in Pittsburgh, he was named the teams 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 playing career, he also learned from some of hockeys most accomplished coaches, including the legendary Scotty Bowman, Badger Bob Johnson, and Phoenix Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett.
Paek began his professional career with a three-year stint in Muskegon, Mich., during which he helped the IHLs Lumberjacks win the 1989 Turner Cup. He added a fourth and final cup to his playing resume in 1999 as a member of the IHLs Houston Aeros.
Upon retiring in 2003, Paek was named head coach of the WHA2s Orlando Seals, guiding the club to a 27-25-5 record in 2003-04 and coaching in the leagues all-star game. In 2004, he returned 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.
Paek and his wife, Kortney, have two children, Megan and Kyler.
Number of seasons with the Griffins (through 2013-14): 9
What you love most about working for the Griffins: The players and situations during a season that stretch you as a coach.
Favorite Griffins memory: Beating Manitoba in Game 7 to advance to the conference finals.
Best thing about your job: Being a part of hockey.
States youve lived in: Too many to list; I have a trail from Florida to Alaska and even England.
Sports idol as a youth: Borje Salming of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Personal/professional heroes: Badger Bob Johnson
As a child you dreamed of becoming: A hockey player
First job: I was a paper boy when I was 11.
Proudest professional accomplishment: Winning the Stanley Cup (childhood dream).
Most memorable on-the-job mistake/ embarrassing moment: Falling on the ice with my skate guards on.
Most exciting/unique thing that youve done or place that youve visited: Getting married in Jamaica.
Sports played growing up: All sports. I was a bit of a jock.
Favorite foods: I love all foods and will try anything once as well as Booster club snacks.
Favorite sports movie: Breaking Away
Favorite website: The Griffins website
Favorite book or author: Biographies
Favorite subject in elementary school: Art
Favorite spectator sports: Finals in any spectator sport.
Favorite pro/college sports teams (excluding the Griffins): Detroit Red Wings
Favorite recreational activities/hobbies: Family time