By Emily Goddard

Jim Paek has been tasked with guiding the South Korean ice hockey squad to 2018 Olympic qualification ©Getty ImagesJim Paek has been named as the new head coach of the men's South Korean ice hockey team and tasked with leading the nation to qualification at their home Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018.

The Korea Ice Hockey Association today announced the appointment of the two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins and revealed he is also to become a programme director of the national team while coaching the side.

Paek - the first South Korean-born athlete to play in the National Hockey League - faces a challenge to get the team to their home Olympics as they are currently ranked 23rd in the world and at risk of not receiving an automatic bid as only the top nine ranked countries and three qualifiers make up the 12-team tournament.

He does, however, remain optimistic in qualifying for the Games.

"The idea of coaching the national team in the Olympics is one of my dreams," Paek said.

"I've always wanted to help develop Korean hockey.

"I've returned to Korea many times to run hockey schools and coached Korean teams travelling to Canada.

"What a great opportunity I have now.

"I know Korea hockey is aiming for the 2018 Winter Games, it's a great challenge but if we are organised and have a plan and teach the process good things will come.

"We cannot lose focus on the process."

Paek, who started his coaching career with the Orlando Seals in 2003, replaces Byoen Sun-Wook, who coached the team for three years but resigned after South Korea was relegated at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship Division I Group A.

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