April 7th, 2015
Host Dave Cunning traveled to Seoul, South Korea to talk with Jim Paek for episode 19. Paek is the first Korean born hockey player to not only play in the NHL, but to win the Stanley Cup, which he did twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1990's. After transitioning into coaching after his playing career concluded, Paek coached the Grand Rapids Griffins to a Calder Cup title, and was recently named head coach of South Korea's national team, and will guide the Koreans into the 2018 Winter Olympics.
During the interview, Jim spoke about how he's perceived in Korea's hockey community and his desire to improve hockey in his home nation, the freedom he has to make team decisions, his Korean skills, the language barrier, and how he works through communication issues on the team, the use of foreign born naturalized players to better South Korea's chances and the pros and cons of that approach, the pressure and expectations for the national team that his resume brings, how the team can compete against the world's best nations in 2018 while currently ranked two divisions down from their level and the fairness of them being in the tournament, how hard it was to make it to the NHL as a Korean and how he got there, playing with Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky, playing under Scotty Bowman and working with Mike Babcock, what he learned from them, returning to the NHL as a coach, juggling being a husband and parent while being continents away from his family, and he makes a verbal commitment to help hockey grow in Jeju!
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