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Hitchcock retires as Stars coach, third in NHL wins

66-year-old will remain with Dallas as consultant

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Ken Hitchcock retired as Dallas Stars coach Friday.

"I have contemplated this since our last game, and I came to the conclusion that now is the right time to step away and let the younger generation of coaches take over," the 66-year-old said in a letter on the Stars website.

He will remain with the Stars as a consultant. No replacement has been named.

"I'm in no rush," Stars general manager Jim Nill said of hiring a replacement. "I want to make sure we get the right guy. I want to make sure we're not leaving somebody out of the equation that deserves a chance to be heard."

The Stars were 42-32-8 in Hitchcock's second stint with Dallas and failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Dallas finished three points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card from the Western Conference.

Nill said Hitchcock's contributions will pay off in the future.

"We knew going forward that one day this was going to happen, and that's why we structured the contract the way it is," he said. "We also knew we'd be fortunate to have Ken coming for one season. To have him instill in this organization and help us build a foundation, it's going to pay dividends for us down the road. He made a lot of these players a lot better, and that was going to help us down the road.

"In the end, we both sat down and thought this was the best direction to go. The best part is he went out on his own terms."

 

[RELATED: Ken Hitchcock career timeline]

 

Hitchcock is the third-winningest coach in NHL history with 823, behind Scotty Bowman (1,244) and Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville (884). Hitchcock has coached the fourth-most games (1,536), behind Bowman (2,141), Quenneville (1,621) and Al Arbour (1,607).

Hitchcock was 823-506-119 with 88 ties in 21 seasons with the Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues, and won the Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999. He reached the Cup Final with Dallas in 2000, when it lost to the New Jersey Devils.

"The game of hockey has been my entire life and I could never repay what the game did for me and all the wonderful people I got to meet during my career," Hitchcock wrote. "I would like to thank everyone for their friendship and support over the years."

He ranks first in Stars/Minnesota North Stars history in games coached (585), wins (319) and points percentage (.614), and won the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year with the Blues in 2012.

Hitchcock, from Edmonton, was part of coaching staffs that led Canada to Olympic gold medals in 2002, 2010 and 2014.

"We were honored to have Ken as our head coach and it was fitting that he finished his coaching here," Stars owner Tom Gaglardi said. "He is a certain Hockey Hall of Fame coach and he left a lasting legacy wherever he went. He will forever be a Dallas Star and I look forward to his continued friendship."

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