Longtime NHL coach Ken Hitchcock retires after 22 seasons

SHARE Longtime NHL coach Ken Hitchcock retires after 22 seasons

Ken Hitchcock returned to the Stars for one last season. | Michael Ainsworth/AP Photo

Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock has retired from the NHL after 22 seasons, the franchise announced Friday. The longtime presence on NHL benches finishes third all-time in coaching wins (823) and fourth all-time in games coached (1,536) as part of a coaching career that started in 1995.

He will accept a role as an advisor with the Stars.

“Ken Hitchcock is an icon when it comes to head coaches, not only in hockey, but across all of sports,” said Stars GM Jim Nill.“He poured his whole life into better understanding in-game concepts and strategy, inspiring players and enhancing teams.

“He leaves an indelible mark on the game and his influence will be felt across the sport for years to come. We want to thank Ken for all that he has given throughout his coaching career.”

Blackhawks fans became familiar with Hitchcock over the years as the head coach of the Stars, Flyers, Blue Jackets and Blues. He’s long been respected by players for pushing them to evolve their games and became one of the most successful NHL coaches in history as a result.

Hitchcock, 66, got his start with the Stars in 1995 and coached the team through 2002. He helmed a dominant five-year stretch for Dallas where the club won five straight division titles, reached two Stanley Cup Finals and won one of them.

After that, Hitchcock coached for the Flyers from 2002-06, the Blue Jackets from 2006-10 and the Blues from 2011-17. He returned to the Stars last year to try to return the team to the playoffs after a down season, but they collapsed down the stretch this spring and ended up missing out on a wild card spot.

Hitchcock finishes his career with a 823-506-88-119 record in 22 NHL seasons. He also won the 2012 Jack Adams award as the league’s top coach.

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