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Blues Hire Ken Hitchcock as Head Coach

by Staff Writer / St. Louis Blues
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced Sunday night the club has relieved Davis Payne as Head Coach and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock.

Hitchcock becomes the 24th Head Coach in franchise history and has agreed to a contract through the 2012-13 season.

"I'm all about the people you work with and I've known John (Davidson) since John was small and a goalie in the Western Hockey League, and I've known Doug (Armstrong) for 18 years," Hitchcock said at Monday's press conference. "So I knew the working relationship. I just felt that I couldn't miss out on this opportunity to work with these people.

"I couldn't miss it."

The team held their first practice under Hitchcock on Monday. 

Hitchcock, 59, has coached 1,042 National Hockey League games with Dallas, Philadelphia and Columbus, compiling a record of 534-350-88-70 for a .588 winning percentage.

His teams have won 40 or more games nine times and he was Head Coach of the Stars when they won the Stanley Cup in 1999.

He has guided his teams to six division titles and eclipsed 100 points eight times.

Hitchcock coached in three consecutive NHL All-Star games (1998, 1999, 2000) and was Assistant Coach for Team Canada when they won Gold in the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics.

"I think my job is to get the best players here to play their best and get everybody to follow that suit. I think I can do that," Hitchcock said. "I think I can provide the game plan and the structure and the discipline that allows the top players to set the direction here. I've had great success in working with top guys and getting them to play and I think there's potential for a lot of players to be top guys here."

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