CALGARY, AB -- Bob Hartley is committed. So are the Calgary Flames.
Hartley, who has coached Calgary to a 71-79-13 record over two-plus seasons, has signed a multiyear contract extension, it was announced Wednesday.
"I'm coaching hockey because it's my passion, it's what I like the most," said Hartley, whose contract was to expire at the end of this season. "I wanted to be here, I'm a coach, but I wear the 'Flaming C' with lots of pride. There was not a second, not a minute that I didn't want to continue what we started. It was not the term and it was not about money, it was about getting the opportunity to keep growing in this organization, to keep working with the players we have.
"I've said it many times: I feel very fortunate to be working not only with good players but good people, and that makes our job very enjoyable. Tomorrow it's back to daily business, which is what I love the most. Let's go win some hockey games."
Hartley, 54, was hired by general manager Jay Feaster on May 31, 2012.
Hartley coached under interim GM and current president of hockey operations Brian Burke after Feaster's dismissal last December, and for Brad Treliving, who was hired as Flames GM in April.
New to the organization, Treliving needed time to get to know Hartley before deciding if he was the right fit for the Flames. Through their nine-month relationship, 33 games this season and a 17-14-2 record, Treliving decided Hartley was a match.
"If I go back to me getting here, I guess it was at the end of April, I know we talked about at that time, and I've been asked many times since, about Bob and his current contract situation; I was consistent in saying, 'I needed time to assess,'" Treliving said. "And part of that, I think, not to put words in Bob's mouth, but he needed time to sort of assess.
"I look at it a little bit like a marriage. You go through a dating period and you're just trying to find out about one another and how things are done and sort of the DNA of the person and how they work and operate.
"As I've stated, I think, many times since, that when asked the question, I've been nothing but impressed with Bob, his work ethic, his energy level, the time that he puts in to get this team to the place we all want to get it to."
That place? The Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Despite an active six-game losing streak, the Flames have been one of the NHL's biggest surprises, two points out of second place in the Pacific Division.
The early returns have sped up Calgary's timetable and expectation on their rebuild. They also have Hartley focused squarely on getting the Flames to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
"We knew that we had to go through a rebuild, and that was a situation that I took to heart," Hartley said. "I knew that it was the right thing to do. Yes, there was lots of work to be done, but it's a challenge, but nothing comes easy. Winning at this level is far from being easy, but it's certainly lots of fun. Brad told me a little while ago that 'I certainly enjoy working with you and I want to keep this going' and I told him exactly the same.
"We know that we're moving the right direction. Our job is to try to fast-forward our progression as quickly as possible so that we can be a playoff team, we can win rounds, we have a shot at the Stanley Cup."
The extension will give Hartley the opportunity to attempt to finish what he undertook when he left the ZSC Lions in Zurich following a Swiss A League championship to join the Flames.
"I am thrilled," said Hartley, who coached the Colorado Avalanche to the 2001 Stanley Cup. "I said a couple of years ago that I felt this was the biggest challenge of my career and I still believe it. I love the direction that this organization has taken.
"As a coach, sometimes you get a chance to finish a job, to start a job, but the entire process, sometimes you're not there to see the end result. I'm very grateful and I thank the organization, I thank this great city for showing faith in me, and I'll do my very best to keep working as a team, as a family so that this organization always shows lots of pride."