The Seattle Kraken have named Dave Hakstol as their first head coach.
“I view it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of something that we have an opportunity to build from the ground up,” Hakstol said Thursday. “Communication is going to be very, very important, not only over the next few weeks of building the roster, but from there, it’s planning on how everything fits together.”
Hakstol, 52, was an assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs for as long as two seasons. He recently instructed the Philadelphia Flyers for three and a half seasons before he was terminated in the 2018-19 season. At the point when he was recruited by Philadelphia in 2015, Hakstol – a long-lasting mentor at the University of North Dakota – turned into the principal lead trainer to bounce from the NCAA to the NHL in 33 years.
The Kraken start play next season as the NHL’s 32nd franchise. They will hold their extension draft on July 21, utilizing similar principles as when the Vegas Golden Knights joined the league in 2017.
“It’s really about building with good quality people to begin with, building it the right way,” Hakstol said. “Making sure that we’re building not only a team that can come out of the gate and play with a lot of pride, passion and have success, but also work towards building the depth of the organization for not only that early success, but to have that sustainable success.”
The relationship between GM Ron Francis and Hakstol was formed during a car ride in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as per sources. The two men have solid connections to Hockey Canada. Francis likes meticulousness. As indicated by a source near the screening, Hakstol was “incredibly well prepared for the interview process, clearly laying out his philosophy to take the players from the draft into the inaugural season.”
“I got to know him as a person and kind of watch his work ethic and how he operated and sort of building that respect for what he can do,” Francis said Thursday of their time abroad.
The Kraken cast a wide net to identify a coach and were very secretive through the whole cycle, with Hakstol’s selection a surprise.
“On our end, we just had the conversations, we talked about things and I think a lot of that credit goes to Dave,” Francis said. “He just didn’t talk about it to anybody, and when you don’t do that, it doesn’t get out there.”
Former Arizona Coyotes mentor Rick Tocchet had different interviews with Seattle, and the group additionally thought to be former New York Rangers coach David Quinn, Buffalo interim coach Don Granato, AHL mentor Kevin Dineen, San Jose Sharks aide mentor Rocky Thompson and Boston Bruins partner Joe Sacco. Gerard Gallant, the principal mentor for the Vegas Golden Knights – who drove the group to the Stanley Cup Final in its debut season – was for quite some time supposed to be an objective however as of late marked a four-year deal to direct the Rangers.
Hakstol, the head coach at North Dakota for 11 seasons, is a local of Warburg, Alberta. Thirty of Hakstol’s players at North Dakota proceeded to play in the NHL, including Blackhawks commander Jonathan Toews and Capitals winger T.J. Oshie. Hakstol was named a finalist for national coach of the year in eight of his 11 seasons, and he arranged a 289-143-43 record (.654 winning rate). North Dakota arrived at the Frozen Four seven times under Hakstol, the greater part of any program during that range.
Hakstol went 134-101-42 (.560 points percentage) in his three or more seasons with the Flyers. He took the group to the end of the season games twice, despite the fact that they were eliminated of in the first round each time.
Hakstol has been coaching hockey – across the NHL, NCAA and USHL – for 26 consecutive seasons.