Stars’ Hitchcock retires as NHL’s third-winningest coach

Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues walks on the ice in game four of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on May 21, 2016 in San Jose, California
AFP

Washington (United States) (AFP) – Ken Hitchcock, who guided the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup in 1999, retired from coaching Friday after 22 National Hockey League seasons, starting and ending his career in Dallas.

Hitchcock, who will remain as a consultant to the Stars, retired with a career record of 823-506 with 207 overtime losses over 1,536 games coached with Dallas, Philadelphia, Columbus and St. Louis.

The 66-year-old Canadian ranks third on the NHL’s all-time coaching wins list behind retired legend Scotty Bowman and Chicago’s Joel Quenneville.

“Hockey has been my entire life and I could never repay what the game did for me and all the wonderful people I got to meet in my career,” Hitchcock wrote in a letter announcing his decision.

“I’ve contemplated this since our last game and I came to the conclusion that now is the right time to step away and let the younger generation of coaches take over.”

Hitchcock, who won the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year in 2012, guided the Stars to a 40-32-8 mark this season, three points behind Colorado for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“We were honored to have Ken as our head coach and it was fitting that he finished his coaching here,” said Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi. “He is a certain Hockey Hall of Fame coach and he left a lasting legacy wherever he went.”

Hitchcock went 86-82 in NHL playoff games and collected eight division titles in his career. He coached Canada to the 2008 World Championship finals and was an associate coach on five Canadian Olympic teams, three of which won gold medals.

“He poured his whole life into better understanding in-game concepts and strategy, inspiring players and enhancing teams,” said Stars general manager Jim Nill. “He leaves an indelible mark on the game and his influence will be felt across the sport for years to come.”

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