Dave Hakstol was hired as coach of the expansion Seattle Kraken on Thursday.
The 52-year-old was an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs the past two seasons. Prior to that, he spent four seasons as coach of the Philadelphia Flyers from 2015-19.
“It is an honor to be the first head coach of the Seattle Kraken,” Hakstol told the Kraken website. “I am honored to be joining this tremendous group of staff and fans. When I first saw the arena, I was blown away – it is such a unique venue. I am looking forward to being a part of the group that builds a team that plays with pride, passion and selflessness for the city of Seattle.”
The Kraken will enter the NHL as its 32nd team for the 2021-22 season. The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft will be held July 21, and Seattle has the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft on July 23.
Hakstol went 134-101-42 with the Flyers and led them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs twice, losing in the Eastern Conference First Round in 2016 and 2018. He was fired Dec. 17, 2018, 31 games into the 2018-19 season.
Hakstol was an assistant coach for Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, where they finished second. Francis was part of the management group.
“I am incredibly proud to announce Dave Hakstol as the first head coach of the Seattle Kraken franchise,” Francis said. “Dave possesses great experience, a strong work ethic, a solid technical understanding of the game, and the remarkable ability to communicate clearly and effectively. I look forward to working with Dave as we strive to build a team our fans will be proud of.”
Prior to coaching in the NHL, Hakstol spent 11 seasons as the coach of the University of North Dakota, going 289-143-43. His teams made the NCAA Tournament each season and reached the Frozen Four seven times. When the Flyers hired him, he became the third person to go from coaching college hockey to coaching in the NHL without previous experience in the League as a player or coach. Bob Johnson was hired by the Calgary Flames from the University of Wisconsin in 1981 and Ned Harkness went from Cornell University to the Detroit Red Wings in 1970.