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Nat'l men's hockey coach Jim Paek gets 3-year extension

2018/06/14 11:59

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SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- Jim Paek, a former National Hockey League (NHL) defenseman who has been coaching the South Korean men's national team since 2014, received a three-year extension on Thursday.

The Korea Ice Hockey Association (KIHA) said Paek, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992, will stay at the helm through June 2021. In addition to being the men's bench boss, Paek has also been the KIHA's national team director, overseeing the women's senior squad, the men's under-20 side and the men's and women's under-18 teams, and will retain his double duty for three more years.

Paek took over a struggling South Korean program in July 2014, when the country was stuck in Division I Group B in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships rung, the third-highest level of the competition.

In this file photo from Feb. 16, 2018, Jim Paek, head coach of the South Korean men's hockey team, directs his players against the Czech Republic in a Group A match during the men's tournament at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, 230 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap) In this file photo from Feb. 16, 2018, Jim Paek, head coach of the South Korean men's hockey team, directs his players against the Czech Republic in a Group A match during the men's tournament at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, 230 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap)

The following year, South Korea won the Division I Group B tournament to earn a promotion to Division I Group A. And South Korea finished second at the 2017 Division I Group A tournament to be promoted to the top-tier World Championship for the first time.

South Korea didn't survive the tough competition in May this year, losing all seven preliminary games to be relegated back to Division I Group A for 2019 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Also on Paek's watch, South Korea competed at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February this year as the host country. It lost to the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Canada in the group stage, and then fell to Finland in the qualification playoff.

The KIHA credited Paek with raising the quality of South Korean hockey, and called him a great motivator who has had complete control of his locker room over the past four years.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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