The Philadelphia Flyers Hired Former University of North Dakota hockey head coach Dave Hakstol as their new head coach on May 18.
Dave Hakstol is the new head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.
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Flyers general manager Ron Hextall announced Hakstol's hiring via a press release on the team's official website on May 18:
"Dave brings a wealth of head coaching experience and success to the Philadelphia Flyers organization. He's a proven winner and we are pleased to have him become part of the Flyers family."
For his part, Hakstol told the Flyers' official website he is excited about the opportunity:
"I am extremely excited to be named the Philadelphia Flyers' new head coach. Through the process here with Ron [Hextall] and everybody in the Flyers organization I have gained even more of an understanding of the history and tradition of this organization and I'm very proud to beome part of the Philadelphia Flyers today."
Hakstol resigned from his the University of North Dakota hockey head coaching position to become the 19th head coach in Flyers franchise history. Brad Berry, one of Hakstol's former assistants, replaced him as the new head coach at North Dakota, per ESPN.
Hextall told ESPN he did not want a popular coach to lead his team. Instead, he wanted the right one:
"I wasn't going to choose the coach that was the people's choice. I was going to pick the coach that I felt like for this franchise from today, next year, moving forward was the right coach. Dave was the right coach for this franchise.
"I think they'll figure out in a hurry who's in charge."
"To have the opportunity to join the Philadelphia Flyers organization is an extremely proud moment for me." -Head Coach Dave Hakstol— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) May 18, 2015
On the other hand, Hakstol told ESPN his vast hockey knowledge ought to make up for his lack of NHL head coaching experience:
"I believe in what we do and I believe in the things that I do, and I'm not going to change that. Do I need to alter the delivery of the message? Maybe a little bit. The fact that I do not have experience at this level, I'm not going to pretend that I do.
"But I do have an awful lot of confidence in knowing the game well."
Hakstol had been North Dakota's hockey head coach for the past 11 seasons, leading the team to the NCAA Tournament each time. The team also had seven Frozen Four appearances during his tenure, which saw him post an overall record of 289-143-43, per ESPN.
CBS Sports' Chris Peters says the only other school to have reached the Frozen Four that many times during that span was the Boston College Eagles, who also won three NCAA titles during that stretch.
"I thought about him long before this as a head coach in the National Hockey League. I believe he was destined for it." -GM Ron Hextall— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) May 18, 2015
Hakstol was also an eight-time finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award as national coach of the year, per the Flyers' official website.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Frank Seravalli, Hakstol coached Hextall's son, Brett, while at North Dakota. The younger Hextall is now playing for the Flyers' AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Hakstol is also the first head coach to make the transition from the NCAA to the NHL since "Badger" Bob Johnson in 1982. Johnson left the University of Wisconsin to be the Calgary Flames' head coach that year, per College Hockey, Inc. (via The Philadelphia Inquirer).
Hakstol also has coached several current NHL stars like Jonathan Toews, Matt Greene, T.J. Oshie, Travis Zajac, Drew Stafford and Chris VandeVelde, per Seravalli. Peters says the number of NHL players Hakstol had previously coached is 20.
Hakstol is a Warburg, Alberta native who played for the University of North Dakota from 1989 to 1992. He then played for the Indianapolis Ice and Minnesota Moose in the International Hockey League (IHL) from 1992 to 1996, per the Flyers' official website.
He became the Minnesota Moose's assistant head coach in 1996. Four years later, he took on the same position at the University of North Dakota. The school promoted him to the head coaching position in 2004, where he would stay until the Flyers tapped him to be their new coach this year.
Hakstol replaces Craig Berube, whom the Flyers dismissed last April after a 33-31-18 record during the 2014-15 NHL season, per ESPN.
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