• Mon. Mar 4th, 2024

The Seattle Kraken have hired their first head coach


Jun 24, 2021

Less than a month before the expansion draft, the Seattle Kraken finally have their first head coach.

In just under a month, the NHL’s Seattle Kraken will have a roster full of players after the expansion draft. They have a coach now, with the team’s announcement Thursday morning Dave Hakstol will be the franchise’s first man behind the bench.

Francis spoke about the process that ultimately landed on Hakstol as the Kraken’s first coach.

“It is certainly is a job that interested a lot of candidates,” said Francis during an exclusive interview Wednesday. “There is a lot to like about the job with our ownership group setting the franchise for success. Dave is a hard-working guy. I liked his confidence during the interview process.
“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.”

It was easy to tie some big names to the Kraken’s head coaching job. While GM Ron Francis didn’t get one of those guys (Joel Quenneville, Bruce Boudreau, etc.), he did hire someone with a wide swath of coaching experience.

Dave Hakstol looks like great fit for the Seattle Kraken

Hakstol spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Before that he was head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers for three-plus seasons, with a 134-101-42 regular season record and 4-8 playoff record. The Flyers made the playoffs in two of his three full seasons, losing in the first round both times.

But the biggest mark on Hakstol’s resume is as a college coach. Over his 11 seasons as head coach at the University of North Dakota (2004-15), the team reached the Frozen Four seven times (the most of any program over that span) and he was a National Coach of the Year finalist eight times.

As cited via the Kraken’s announcement of his hiring, Hakstol coached more than 30 players who went on to play in the NHL at UND. That group is highlighted by Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, Matt Greene and Travis Zajac.

Hakstol’s credentials in player development at North Dakota mixed with his NHL experience made him an easy candidate for the expansion Kraken. Credit to Francis for surely doing due diligence with a list of bigger names, but ultimately going the direction he did with someone who looks like a better overall fit.

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