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Ken Hitchcock

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Ken Hitchcock (born December 17, 1951 in Edmonton, Alberta) also known as "Hitch" is an NHL coach and pro scout, and current head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Hitchcock began his coaching career during the 1984-85 season where he was coach of the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. Hitchcock spent six seasons with the Blazers, leading them to two WHL championship victories in 1985-86 and 1989-90. During his tenure with the Blazers, Hitchcock accumulated a 291–115–15 record and never had a losing season. He also named the Top Coach in all of Canadian Major Junior Hockey in 1990.

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.

Although he never played the game himself, he has become one of the most successful head coaches of is era.

From Philadelphia to ColumbusEdit

The 2006–07 NHL season would see the Flyers get off to a horrible 1–6–1 start over their first eight games. It was 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.

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.

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

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.

Coaching RecordEdit

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 1999–00 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 (DET)
Total 983 511 323 88 61

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Bob Gainey
Head Coaches of the Dallas Stars
Succeeded by
Rick Wilson
Preceded by
Bill Barber
Head Coaches of the Philadelphia Flyers
Succeeded by
John Stevens
Preceded by
Gary Agnew
Head Coaches of the Columbus Blue Jackets
Succeeded by
Dallas Stars Head Coaches
Gainey • Hitchcock • Wilson • TippettCrawford
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