Sam Kim Hired as Leafs’ Video and Coaching Coordinator

Most recently the Video Coach for the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate, Sam Kim will be joining the Toronto Maple Leafs as their Video and Coaching Coordinator as the next step for one of the most unique careers in hockey.

Kim’s first position in hockey was interning for the New York Islanders, working as the team’s mascot and eventually an instructor at the team’s youth academy. In 2009 at age 24, he was hired as the Head Coach of the club team at Columbia University despite a lack of experience coaching due to his thoroughness, showing up for an interview with “a binder and mock practice plans and goals and visions for the program.” (Sam Kim to The Athletic, 2020)

Sam Kim as the Islanders’ mascot, Sparky.

At the same time, Kim worked for a variety of youth and junior teams before being hired in 2015 as the Video and Statistics Co-Ordinator for the Arizona Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons. He then worked as the Video Coach for the South Korean National Team as they prepared for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

I’m a pretty spontaneous coach. I’d say, ‘Sam, pull up some forechecks.’ They’d be right there. He was so organized and knew exactly what I wanted to see. I didn’t have to wait for anything…He knows that I miss him here. He put a big mark in the development of Korean hockey. He’s a guy who wants to get better and better – and it shows.

Jim Paek, Head Coach of South Korean National Team, to The Athletic (2020)

After the Olympics, Kim moved back to the AHL as the Video Coach for the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, where he was responsible for a variety of tasks from cutting clips of video for coaching sessions to co-ordinating travel to helping out on the ice during practices.

Over these last few years, Kim has worked at all different levels of hockey in a diverse range of roles. It all started, however, in Flushing, NY, where the second-generation Korean-American first heard about his future colleague on the South Korean national team, Jim Paek, who was then playing in the NHL for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

When I was six, I was playing an ice hockey card game and his [Jim Paek’s] card came up. I guess that’s how it all started.

Sam Kim to Hankyoreh (2017)