Ken Hitchcock

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ken Hitchcock
Ken hitchcock 2013.jpg
Ken Hitchcock coaching at the St. Louis Blues training camp in 2013
Born (1951-12-17) December 17, 1951 (age 62)
Edmonton, AB, CAN
Current position Head coach
Current general manager Doug Armstrong
Current team St. Louis Blues
Previous team(s) Dallas Stars
Philadelphia Flyers
Columbus Blue Jackets
Years as a coach 1980s–present
Years as an NHL coach 1996–present
Years with current team 2011–present

Kenneth S. Hitchcock (born December 17, 1951), nicknamed "Hitch", is an NHL hockey coach and pro scout, currently coaching the St. Louis Blues. He has also served as head coach of the NHL's Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, and Columbus Blue Jackets. He coached the Stars to a Stanley Cup victory in 1999.

He also served as an assistant coach for the 2014 Canadian Olympic Hockey Team.

Early years[edit]

While growing up in western Canada, Hitchcock played hockey. Hitchcock found he could motivate players. This mind led him to coaching, first at various levels in the Edmonton area, and later a ten-year stint at the helm of the midget AAA Sherwood Park Chain Gang. Hitchcock led Sherwood Park (an Edmonton suburb) to an outstanding record of 575–69. In his spare time, "Hitch" taught hockey fundamentals to girls at a local hockey school.

Taking a chance, Hitchcock submitted his credentials to the new owners of the WHL's Kamloops Blazers, Gary Cooper and Colin Day. Hitchcock assumed his position behind the bench for the 1984–85 season, and had an immediate effect on the Blazers, leading them to four consecutive division titles and two league titles (in 1985–86 and 1989–90). In both of the seasons he guided the Blazers to the league title, Hitchcock was named the WHL Coach of the Year, and he was named the top coach in Canadian major junior hockey in 1990. Hitch's team appeared in the Memorial Cup tournament twice, never advancing beyond the semi-finals. In six seasons in Kamloops, Hitchcock recorded a 291–125–15 record, which stands as the second best in WHL history.

To the NHL[edit]

In 1990, Hitchcock left the WHL and joined the Philadelphia Flyers as an assistant coach. Hitchcock spent three seasons with the Flyers organization before leaving to helm the Dallas Stars' IHL franchise, the Kalamazoo Wings, for the 1993–94 season.

In the middle of his third season with the team (then renamed the Michigan K-Wings), he was offered the head coaching position with the Dallas Stars and on January 8, 1996, he was named head coach, replacing Bob Gainey, who remained with the Stars as general manager. In his first full season with the Stars, he led the team to a first-place finish in the Central Division and a playoff berth. In his second full season with the Stars, Hitchcock again led the Stars to the playoffs, losing in the Conference Finals to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. Also during the 1997–98 season, Hitchcock was named to his first of three consecutive NHL All-Star Game teams as coach.

During the 1998–99 NHL season, Hitchcock led the Stars to a regular season record of 51–19–12 (0.695 winning percentage), a team best. In the playoffs, Hitchcock led the team to a Stanley Cup victory over the Buffalo Sabres, the team's first. The next season, Hitchcock again led the team to the Stanley Cup finals, only to lose to the New Jersey Devils.

In the 2000–01 season, Hitchcock again led the Stars to the playoffs, but exited early. Midway through the following season, after getting off to a mediocre 23–21–6 start and in the midst of strife between the players and management, Hitchcock was fired as head coach.

Hitchcock was quickly picked up in the off-season by his old team, the Philadelphia Flyers, who had just fired their coach, Bill Barber, after an early exit from the playoffs. Hitchcock brought much-needed discipline and direction to the Flyers and led them to a 45–24–13 record in his first season, losing in the Conference Semi-finals.

In Hitchcock's second season with the Flyers, the Flyers finished first in the division with a 40–21–15 record and advanced to the Conference Finals, losing to the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games.

From Philadelphia to Columbus[edit]

The 2006–07 NHL season would see the Flyers get off to an abysmal 1–6–1 start over their first eight games, their worst start in 15 years. After a 9–1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, management promised there would be some major changes to the organization. On October 22, 2006, the Flyers fired Hitchcock and General Manager Bobby Clarke stepped down.[1]

On November 1, 2006, the Flyers assigned Ken Hitchcock to be a pro scout for the club. On November 22, 2006, Hitchcock and the Columbus Blue Jackets agreed to a three-year contract to become their new head coach. He coached his first game for the Blue Jackets on November 24 against his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers, a game the team lost, 3–2.[2]

On July 9, 2008, the Blue Jackets announced they signed Hitchcock to a three-year extension to remain as head coach.[3]

On February 19, 2009 the Blue Jackets earned Ken Hitchcock his 500th career NHL win as a head coach, by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs, in Toronto.

On April 8, 2009 Hitchcock secured the Blue Jackets' first ever post season appearance with a 4–3 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks, only to be swept in the conference quarterfinals by the Detroit Red Wings.

On November 11, 2009, in Columbus, in a 9–1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, Hitchcock became the sixteenth NHL coach to reach the 1,000 game milestone.[4]

On February 3, 2010, the Columbus Blue Jackets relieved head coach Ken Hitchcock of his duties behind the bench and named assistant coach Claude Noel as the club's interim head coach.

St. Louis Blues[edit]

On November 6, 2011 the St. Louis Blues fired coach Davis Payne, and hired Ken Hitchcock in his place.

On June 20, 2012 Ken Hitchcock won the Jack Adams Award for NHL coach of the year.

On April 16, 2013, he got his 600th NHL win with a 2-1 shootout victory for the St. Louis Blues over the Vancouver Canucks. He became the 11th NHL coach to reach that milestone. Of the 11, only two have higher career point percentages: Scotty Bowman (.657) and Joel Quenneville (.612), with Hitchcock at .595. Bowman and Quenneville were both former Blues' coaches.[5]

On November 23, 2013, Hitchcock surpassed Bryan Murray as 8th all-time with 621 career regular season victories when the St. Louis Blues defeated the Dallas Stars 6-1.[6]

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish Result
DAL 1995–96 43 15 23 5 (66) 6th in Central Missed playoffs
DAL 1996–97 82 48 26 8 104 1st in Central Lost in first round
DAL 1997–98 82 49 22 11 109 1st in Central Lost in conf. finals
DAL 1998–99 82 51 19 12 114 1st in Pacific Won Stanley Cup
DAL 1999–2000 82 43 23 10 6 102 1st in Pacific Lost in Cup Finals
DAL 2000–01 82 48 24 8 2 106 1st in Pacific Lost in second round
DAL 2001–02 50 23 17 6 4 (90) 4th in Pacific (fired)
PHI 2002–03 82 45 20 13 4 107 2nd in Atlantic Lost in second round
PHI 2003–04 82 40 21 15 6 101 1st in Atlantic Lost in conf. finals
PHI 2005–06 82 45 26 11 101 2nd in Atlantic Lost in first round
PHI 2006–07 8 1 6 1 (56) 5th in Atlantic (fired)
CBJ 2006–07 62 28 29 5 (73) 4th in Central Missed playoffs
CBJ 2007–08 82 34 36 12 80 4th in Central Missed playoffs
CBJ 2008–09 82 41 31 10 92 4th in Central Lost in first round
CBJ 2009–10 58 22 27 9 55 5th in Central (fired)
STL 2011–12 69 43 15 11 97 1st in Central Lost in second round
STL 2012–13 48 29 17 2 60 2nd in Central Lost in first round
STL 2013–14 82 52 23 - 7 111 2nd in Central Lost in first round
Total 1,240 657 405 88 90

References[edit]

Philadelphia Flyers – http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com/team/roster/RosterDetail.asp?PlayerID=59 NHL Official Guide & Record Book 2001 The Dallas Stars History – http://www.dallasstars.com/history/index.cfm "Shakeup in Dallas," CNNSI.com – http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/hockey/news/2002/01/25/stars_hitchcock_ap/ "Great pitch, Hitch," SLAM! Sports – http://www.canoe.ca/Slam020519/nhl_phi-sun.html "Stars' Hitchcock grows as coach after becoming husband, stepfather," Abeline Reporter-News (December 15, 1997) – http://www.reporter-news.com/texsports97/hitch121597.html

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Dan Bylsma
Jack Adams Award
2012
Succeeded by
Paul MacLean
Preceded by
Bob Gainey
Head coach of the Dallas Stars
1995–2002
Succeeded by
Rick Wilson
Preceded by
Bill Barber
Head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers
2002–06
Succeeded by
John Stevens
Preceded by
Gary Agnew
Head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets
2006–10
Succeeded by
Claude Noel
Preceded by
Davis Payne
Head coach of the St. Louis Blues
2011–present
Incumbent