Monday, April 7, 2014
Born on this date in 1967, Chisun Paek emigrated to Canada as an infant where his parents gave him the name "Jim" to make to make the transition to Canadian life easier for their son. As he grew up, he developed a love for hockey which eventually led to him to the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League beginning in the 1984-85 season where he played defense. His play got him noticed, as he was drafted that summer by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft.
Paek played two more seasons with the Generals, including a run to the Memorial Cup Finals where he contributed 15 points in 26 games.
Following his junior career, Paek turned pro with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League (IHL), where he raised his offensive game to new levels, with three consecutive 50 point seasons while averaging 117 penalty minutes. During his second season in Muskegon, the Lumberjacks won the 1989 Turner Cup championship.
Paek next wore the sweater of the Canadian National Team during in the 1990-91 season for 48 games and then made history as the first Korean-born player to play in the NHL when he made his debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins with three regular season games late in the same 1990-91 season followed by eight playoff games, which included Paek scoring a goal. The Penguins advanced to the finals for the first time in team history where they defeated the Minnesota North Stars in six games, giving Paek the distinction of also being the first Korean to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup, which earned his Penguins jersey a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Paek played 49 games in 1991-92 as well as 19 more playoff games as the Penguins went back to back as Stanley Cup champions, this time with a four game sweep over the Chicago Blackhawks with Paek contributing 4 assists.
After a full season of 77 games in in 1992-93, Paek scored an NHL career high 18 points. After 41 games the following season Paek was traded, along with Marty McSorley, to the Los Angeles Kings, where he would finish out the 1993-94 season.
The Kings then dealt Paek to the Ottawa Senators at the 1995 draft. Paek only skated for the Ottawa in 29 games to close out his NHL career with 217 games played, five goals and 29 assists for 34 points and a pair of Stanley Cups.
Even though his NHL career was over, Paek was far from done with hockey. Now with the Minnesota Moose of the IHL, Paek was named team captain but later dealt to the Houston Aeros. He began the following season season with the relocated Moose, now in Manitoba, but moved to the Cleveland Lumberjacks early enough in the campaign to play in 74 games and score 28 points. After another full season with the Lumberjacks, Paek played 65 games in the 1998-99 season before being loaned to Houston in March of 1999 where he would win his second Turner Cup championship.
Paek was back in Cleveland again in 1999-00 for the full season and then continued his world tour with a move to the Nottingham Panthers of the British Ice Hockey Super League of England in 2000-01. His trek around the globe was completed with a move to the Anchorage Aces of the West Coast Hockey League before a return to Nottingham at the end of the season. He played one more season with Nottingham to close out his playing days before moving into coaching.
Today's featured jersey is a 1998-99 Bauer Cleveland Lumberjacks Jim Paek jersey, worn by Paek while with the Lumberjacks. Notice the velcro affixed to the upper left chest under the Bauer logo which indicates that Paek was either the captain or assistant captain of the Lumberjacks at some point during the season.
This style jersey is notable for it's distinctive "saw blade" striping on the arms and waist. One wonders why they chose to go with such a basic number font instead of a more playful one like the Manitoba Moose or Utah Grizzlies.
In today's video segment, Jim Paek takes on noted tough guy Rob Ray, who had the audacity to lay a hand on Mario Lemieux.