COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach Ken Hitchcock has been named Team Canada's head coach for the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship, the Blue Jackets and Team Canada General Manager Steve Yzerman announced April 1. Hitchcock will lead Team Canada at the tournament, which will be held from May 2-18 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Quebec City, Quebec.
A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Hitchcock has represented Canada at numerous international competitions during his career. 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 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 Championship and the 1987 World Junior Championship.
"Getting to be a part of Hockey Canada is a great honor, especially anytime you get to work with a Canadian team on home ice, in front of Canadian fans," said Hitchcock. "I am excited to work with Steve, (Assistant General Managers) Doug (Armstrong) and Luc (Robitaille) towards defending Canada’s world championship."
"We are extremely excited that Ken will join us as head coach for the 2008 IIHF World Championship," said Yzerman. "Ken's wealth of international experience should prove to be a tremendous asset to our team as we go forward towards what we hope will be a gold medal on home ice."
Hitchcock has a 470-311-117 record in 898 career NHL games with the Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars. When the Blue Jackets visit St. Louis on Saturday, he will become just the 20th head coach in NHL history to record 900 games behind the bench. He began his career in Dallas, where he posted a 277-166-60 record from 1996-02. He led the Stars to five Central Division titles, two President's Trophies (1997-98, 1998-99), two Western Conference championships (1999, 2000) and the 1999 Stanley Cup. He also served as the Western Conference's head coach in three All-Star Games (1997, 1998, 1999).
Hitchcock joined the Flyers prior to the 2002-03 season and led the club to a 131-83-40 record, including three-straight 100-point seasons and the Atlantic Division title in 2003-04. He was named the Blue Jackets head coach on Nov. 22, 2006 and has guided the club to a 62-62-17 record and the best season in franchise history in 2007-08 with a 34-33-12 mark. Prior to joining the professional ranks, he 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.
The Blue Jackets return to action Thursday when they visit the Detroit Red Wings. Game time is 7:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage on FSN Ohio HD will begin with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show starting at 7 p.m. The game will also broadcast live on the Blue Jackets Radio Network and flagship stations WBNS-AM, Sports Radio 1460 The Fan and WWCD-FM, CD101.
Tickets to the Blue Jackets final regular season home game are on sale now at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, FSN Ohio Blue Line Team Store locations at Chiller Easton, Chiller Dublin, Chiller North and The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, as well as all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers. Fans can also purchase by phone at (614) 431-3600 or online at www.BlueJackets.com and www.ticketmaster.com. For information on season and group tickets, call (614) 246-PUCK or (800) NHL-COLS.