St. Louis Blues - Head Coach
|[ Back to Coaches Index ]|
Ken Hitchcock returned to the NHL coaching ranks when the St. Louis Blues hired him to be their new head coach on November 6, 2011 after firing Davis Payne. At that time, Hitchcock was 12th in the NHL in coaching wins with 533.
Hitchcock was still under contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who had to give permission to the Blues to hire him. He was in charge with the Blue Jackets for parts of four seasons until he was fired Feb. 3, 2010. He had a career record of 534-350-88-70 with the Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong worked with Hitchcock in Dallas and with the Canadian national team.
He led the Stars to the Stanley Cup in 1999, and lost in the Final to New Jersey in 2000. Hitchcock helped the Blue Jackets reach the playoffs for the only time in the franchise’s history in 2009, but was fired the next season after the team started 23-27-9.
Hitchcock has won six division titles and coached in three NHL All-Star Games. He also was an assistant coach for Team Canada in both the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics, and won a gold medal each time.
Hitchcock began his professional coaching career as an assistant coach with the Flyers from 1990-93 before spending two-plus seasons as the head coach of the Kalamazoo Wings/Michigan K-Wings, Dallas' International Hockey League affiliate. He took over as head coach of the Stars midway through the 1995-96 season and in his first full season at the helm led them to the Central Division title. That year, Dallas became just the ninth team in NHL history to go from last place to first place in one season. The club's 38-point improvement from 66 to 104 was tied for the fifth-best in league history.
Hitchcock spent parts of five seasons in Dallas, compiling a 277-160-60 regular season record and 47-33 playoff mark. He led his teams to five-straight Central Division titles (1996-01), two President's Trophies (1997-98, 1998-99) and two Western Conference championships (1999, 2000) in addition to the 1999 Stanley Cup. He holds Stars franchise records for career wins (277), playoff wins (47), regular season winning percentage (.610) and playoff winning percentage (.588) and in 1998-99 led the club to franchise single season records for wins, points and highest winning percentage with a 51-19-12 mark.
On May 14, 2002, he was named Flyers head coach and led the club to a 131-73-50 record during the regular season and a 19-18 mark in the playoffs. Philadelphia posted three-straight 100-point seasons from 2002-06, captured the Atlantic Division title in 2003-04 and also advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals that year. On Mar. 21, 2006, Hitchcock guided the Flyers to a 2-1 win over New Jersey, becoming the fifth-fastest coach in NHL history to record 400 wins (736 games). He also served as an assistant coach for the Eastern Conference in the 2003 and 2004 All-Star Games.
The Edmonton, Alberta native has represented Canada at numerous international competitions. He served as an associate coach for Team Canada at the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Games, winning the gold medal at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. He helped Team Canada win the World Cup of Hockey Tournament in 2004 as an associate coach and was an assistant on gold medal-winning squads at the 2002 World Championships and the 1987 World Junior Championships.
During his successful stint with the Stars, he was nominated for the Jack Adams Award as "the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed most to his team's success" three times (1997, 1998, 1999) and served as the Western Conference's head coach in three All-Star Games (1997, 1998, 1999).
Prior to joining the professional ranks, Hitchcock was one of the winningest coaches in the history of the Western Hockey League. From 1984-90, he led the Kamloops Blazers to a 291-125-15 record with his .693 winning percentage ranking second in WHL history. He was the league's Coach of the Year in 1986-87 and 1989-90 and was also named the Canadian Major Junior Coach of the Year in 1989-90 after leading Kamloops to the WHL championship and a third place finish in the Memorial Cup Tournament.
Hitchcock was born on Dec. 17, 1951.
It was kind of touching. I didn't know really what to expect. I'm very appreciative and thankful for the people that supported me in my time here ... as I said, we'll move back to the area at some point in our life.