The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have agreed to terms on a new three-year contract with Head Coach Ken Hitchcock, effective for the 2006-07 season, according to club General Manager Bob Clarke.
"I think that it's the final piece of stability we were hoping to have at the start of training camp," said Clarke in making the announcement. "Actually, it was my own fault, because it took me longer to sign a couple players. Even though it's early in training camp, we wish that it had been done earlier, but we knew going into training camp that we were going to get it done some time in training camp."
"Well, the important thing for me was that when you make the decision to play younger players, to build the fabric for years to come, you want to be around when they mature, and they are getting that way now," said Hitchcock. "We made the decision last year to put them in line up and play them and I want to be the guy that coaches them."
Hitchcock, 54, has a 130-77-39 regular season record in his three seasons as head coach of the Flyers. He also has a 19-18 record in 37 playoff games, including an 11-7 record as the team advanced to the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals. His 130 wins are fourth most among Flyers head coaches. He guided the team to the Atlantic Division Championship in 2003-04 and in 2002-03 to its best point total (107) since the Flyers registered 110 points during the 1985-86 season. He is the 15th head coach in Flyers history after being named to the position on May 14, 2002. In 10 NHL seasons with the Dallas Stars (1995-96 through 2001-02) and the Flyers (2002-03 through 2005-06), Hitchcock has compiled a 407-243-99 record in 749 regular season games and has a 66-51 record in 117 career playoff games. Hitchcock has recorded eight 40-win and eight 100-point seasons in eight full seasons as a NHL head coach. In his eight full NHL seasons, Hitchcock has led his team to the playoffs each season, has advanced to the Conference Finals four times and to the Stanley Cup Finals twice and has won one Stanley Cup (1999).
Hitchcock served as head coach of the Dallas Stars for parts of seven seasons (1995-96 to 2001-02), compiling a 277-166-60 record in 503 regular season games for a .610 winning percentage. The Stars qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his five full seasons as head coach and he registered a 47-33 record in 80 playoff games. He led the Stars to five consecutive Division championships (1996-97 through 2000-01), two Presidents' Trophies as "the club finishing the regular season with the best overall record" (1997-98 and 1998-99), two Western Conference Championships (1998-99 and 1999-2000) and one Stanley Cup Championship (1998-99). He holds the Stars franchise records for most career regular season wins by a coach (277), most career playoff wins (47), highest regular season winning percentage by a coach (.610) and highest playoff winning percentage by a coach (.588).
A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Hitchcock served as head coach of Dallas' International Hockey League affiliate, the Kalamazoo Wings/Michigan K-Wings for three seasons, from the 1993-94 season until being named Stars' head coach on January 8, 1996. Prior to joining the Stars' organization, Hitchcock served three seasons as an assistant coach with the Flyers (1990-91 through 1992-93). Hitchcock has guided every professional team that he has served as head coach to the playoffs in every full season that he has been at the helm.
Hitchcock joined the Flyers after six seasons as head coach of the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League from 1984-85 through 1989-90. His .693 winning percentage as head coach at Kamloops is the second highest in the history of the WHL (291-125-15). He was named the WHL's Coach of the Year following the 1986-87 and 1989-90 seasons. He was named the Top Coach in all of Canadian Major Junior Hockey after the Blazers won the WHL title and finished third at the Memorial Cup in 1990. Hitchcock's international experience also includes serving as an assistant coach for the Team Canada team that captured the gold medal at the 1987 World Junior Championships.
Ken and his wife, Nancy, have three children, Emily, Alex and Noah.