Seattle Kraken hire Dave Hakstol as franchise’s first ever head coach

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Philadelphia Flyers

The Seattle Kraken have found their man. On Thursday, the NHL’s newest franchise announced that they have hired Dave Hakstol as the first head coach in franchise history.

“It is certainly is a job that interested a lot of candidates,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said in a press release. “… Dave has a strong understanding of the technical aspect of the game-how he wants his team to play in all three zones [on the ice]. He’s up for the challenge.” 

Francis looked to hire someone with previous NHL head coaching experience and Hakstol certainly fits the bill.

Hakstol previously served as the Philadelphia Flyers head coach from 2015 to 2018. During his time in Philadelphia, Hakstol accumulated a 134-101-42 record while reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs in two of his three full seasons with the team. He was relieved of his duties with the Flyers in December 2018 following a 12-15-4 start to the 2018-19 season. 

Over the past two seasons, Hakstol served as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sheldon Keefe’s staff. Hakstol was originally hired by Mike Babcock before the former Maple Leafs head coach was relieved of his duties in November 2019. Hakstol remained on Toronto’s staff despite Babcock’s dismissal.

Prior to his time in the NHL, Hakstol served as the head coach at the University of North Dakota, where he led the Fighting Hawks to a record of 289-143-43 in 11 seasons. North Dakota to a national title during the 2010-11 campaign with Hakstol at the helm.

During his tenure at North Dakota, Hakstol coached several future NHL standouts, including the likes of Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, and Travis Zajac.

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