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SEATTLE, Wash. — May 28, 2024 — Today, the Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) announced that they have named Dan Bylsma the second head coach in franchise history. 

“I’m pleased to introduce Dan Bylsma as the next head coach of the Seattle Kraken. On behalf of the team and the city of Seattle, we would like to welcome Dan and his wife Mary Beth to the PNW,” said Seattle Kraken Owner Samantha Holloway. “Dan has had great success over the last two seasons in Coachella Valley with the Firebirds, who are in the conference finals beginning Wednesday. In addition to developing our young players, the future of the Kraken, he has also had significant NHL experience and succeeded at the highest level.” 

“Dan is a winner with a proven track record of developing both young and veteran talent and his leadership will help our team as we move forward,” said Seattle Kraken General Manager Ron Francis. “He has had success at every level, winning the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009, earning a Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in 2011, and he led the Firebirds to Game 7 of the Calder Cup Finals last year in the team’s first season. He knows our franchise, has worked with several of our NHL players, and we are excited to have him behind the bench and guiding our team next season.” 

Bylsma’s coaching career has spanned two decades and includes NHL head coaching stints with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2008-09 to 2013-14) and the Buffalo Sabres (2015-16 to 2016-17). Taking over a Penguins squad with a 27-25-5 record at the midway point of the 2008-09 season, Pittsburgh finished the regular season with an 18-3-4 record with Bylsma behind the bench, only losing one game at home for the remainder of the regular season. Bylsma’s squad went on to win the 2009 Stanley Cup, the third in franchise history. In 2010-11, he took home the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach after guiding the Penguins to a 49-25-8 record and second place in the Atlantic division despite forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each playing fewer than 45 games. 

“I’m excited for this opportunity and honored to join the Seattle Kraken,” said Bylsma. “I’ve been a part of this organization for three seasons and have a familiarity with a lot of the players and staff here and think we have a chance to build something special together. I’d like to thank everyone with the Coachella Valley Firebirds for welcoming my wife and I with open arms, and I’d like to thank Samantha Holloway and the entire Kraken ownership group, as well as Ron Francis, for trusting me with this opportunity.” 

Bylsma joins the Kraken after spending the previous two seasons as the head coach of the Coachella Valley Firebirds, Seattle’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate. Bylsma has guided the Firebirds to a combined regular-season record of 94-32-18 over the last two years, finishing the 2023-24 regular season as the Pacific Division champions and owning the second-best record in the AHL. The Firebirds are currently set to face the Milwaukee Admirals in the Calder Cup Semifinals and have the opportunity to reach the championship round for the second consecutive season. 

Bylsma’s Coachella Valley tenure saw several Firebirds players set AHL career highs and earn league accolades. In 2022-23 forward Max McCormick and defenseman Brogan Rafferty were named to the league’s Second All-Star Team, while forward Tye Kartye and defenseman Ryker Evans earned All-Rookie honors. Kartye, an undrafted free agent, also took home the Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s top rookie. Under Bylsma’s tutelage, Kartye, Evans and goaltender Joey Daccord made the full-time jump to the NHL with fellow prospects Shane Wright, Logan Morrison and Ryan Winterton all seeing NHL time in 2023-24. He spent one season working as an assistant coach for Seattle’s first AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers in 2021-22, prior to being named Coachella Valley’s first head coach in 2022. 

Bylsma’s other previous coaching stops have also included stints as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings (2018-19 to 2020-21), New York Islanders (2005-06), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2006-07 to 2008-09) and Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (2004-05). A native of Grand Haven, Michigan, Bylsma was selected to be the United States Men’s National Team head coach at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games while also serving as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2015, 2018 and 2019 IIHF World Championships. 

As a forward, Bylsma amassed 62 points (19 goals, 43 assists) in 429 regular-season NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and stints with several AHL, IHL and ECHL teams. He played four seasons of collegiate hockey at Bowling Green State University prior to his professional career and was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the sixth round (109th overall) of the 1989 NHL Draft.