COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed Head Coach Ken Hitchcock to a three-year contract extension through the 2011-2012 National Hockey League season, club General Manager Scott Howson announced July 9. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
"Signing Ken Hitchcock to this contract extension is another important step for the Columbus Blue Jackets as Ken is at or near the top of anyone's list when it comes to NHL coaches." - General Manager Scott Howson
Hitchcock, 56, has compiled a 470-314-117 (.599) regular season record in 901 career games with the Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars. He was named the fourth head coach in Blue Jackets history on Nov. 22, 2006 and has guided the club to a 62-65-17 mark in 144 games. Last season, he became the 20th coach in NHL history to coach in 900 or more games on Apr. 5, 2008 at St. Louis.
"Signing Ken Hitchcock to this contract extension is another important step for the Columbus Blue Jackets as Ken is at or near the top of anyone's list when it comes to NHL coaches," said Howson. "He has brought credibility, presence and structure to our team and is an integral part of the Blue Jackets' identity. We are pleased to have stability for at least the next four years at the head coaching position."
In nine full seasons behind the bench, Hitchcock has led his teams to six division titles and a pair of second place finishes while recording at least 40 wins and 100 points in each of those campaigns. He has also led his teams to a 66-51 record in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 16-7 mark in 1999 when Dallas won the Stanley Cup title.
He was hired by the Stars midway through the 1995-96 season and in 1996-97 led the club 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. He spent parts of five seasons in Dallas, compiling a 277-166-60 regular season record and 47-33 playoff mark. He led his teams to five 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 was nominated for the Jack Adams Award three times (1997, 1998, 1999) and served as the Western Conference's head coach in three All-Star Games (1997, 1998, 1999).
On May 14, 2002, he was named Flyers head coach and compiled a 131-83-40 record 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 advanced to the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals. 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.
A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Hitchcock has represented Canada at numerous international competitions. He was named head coach of Team Canada for the 2008 World Championships and led the squad to the silver medal. He also 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.
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.
Deposits are now being accepted for Blue Jackets season tickets for the 2008-09 season. New 10 and 20 game plans also are available starting at $240. For information on season tickets, mini-plans or group tickets, call (614) 246-PUCK or 800-NHL-COLS.