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'I'm excited to get to work': Pete DeBoer begins new chapter in Dallas

The 54-year-old met with members of the media during a press conference inside American Airlines Center on Wednesday

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara / Digital Manager

DALLAS -- A new era of Stars hockey was officially introduced on Wednesday afternoon when Pete DeBoer met with members of the media inside American Airlines Center.

The 25th head coach in franchise history and 10th in Dallas Stars history sat alongside general manager Jim Nill and spoke for roughly 40 minutes on topics ranging from the extensive interview process, his unexpected firing in Vegas, the leadership group within the Stars' roster and the excitement of taking this team to the next level.

DeBoer was amongst a handful of experienced NHL coaches available during Nill's search for a new head coach. There were also NHL assistant coaches, candidates in the collegiate and junior hockey ranks, and overseas in Europe.

Video: Pete DeBoer introductory press conference

"We did a very thorough process," Nill said. "We had criteria set up and had a very good field. There were some great candidates. There were some moves made around the league which really affected our search, all in a good way. It was a great process. When you go through this process, you get to meet a lot of people. You get to pick a lot of hockey brains and gain a lot of knowledge. As we went through the process, we started to narrow it down. The one name that kept coming up was Peter DeBoer. That's why we're here."

Nill acknowledged the club needed a coach that could guide the team now but also in the years to come.

"If you told me three or four years ago who were going to be our next guys up, I don't think anybody knew who Roope Hintz, Jake Oettinger or Jason Robertson were. We've got another group of young kids coming in, the Wyatt Johnstons, the Logan Stankovens and Mavrik Bourques. I can go on and on. The organization is in a good spot.

"The key was to find the right person to be able to bring this all together," Nill added. "Pete - through his history of dealing with younger players and history of dealing with veteran players - through our research, I talked to a lot of players he's coached, and players who have [played] against him. I got rave reviews and positive reviews all the time."

DeBoer's 14-year NHL head coaching resume includes two trips to the Stanley Cup Final (2012 with New Jersey and 2016 with San Jose), five appearances in the Conference Finals and a 6-0 record in Game 7s. He also owns a record of 513-379-123 in 1,015 regular-season games coached with Vegas, San Jose, New Jersey and Florida. Since entering the league in 2008-09, DeBoer ranks sixth in wins and second in games coached.

Video: DeBoer 'excited' to be Stars' new head coach

He most recently served as bench boss of the Golden Knights where he led the club to a 98-50-12 record in 160 regular-season contests with a .650 points percentage over parts of three seasons. He also guided Vegas to the postseason in two of his three campaigns with the club, registering a 22-17 record in 39 playoff games and reaching the semifinal round in both the 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I can't tell you how excited I am," DeBoer said. "It was quite a process from the end of the season to today. I think I got enough frequent flier miles to pay for a family vacation going back and forth. It was a very extensive interview process with Jim and his group."

Throughout the interview process, DeBoer says his excitement for the Stars kept growing.

"The more layers I peeled back as I dove into the organization, the more excited I got about the veterans here, the leadership, but also about the layers of young guys coming and the potential of this group going forward," he said. "Replacing a guy - I'd be remiss without acknowledging it - one of the most respected guys in NHL hockey in Rick Bowness. Great man, great person, great coach. Big shoes to fill. I'm excited to get to work."

DeBoer steps behind the bench of a Stars team that most recently took the Calgary Flames to overtime of Game 7 in the first round - a roster that includes veterans Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.

"Those are world-class players," DeBoer said. "When you're standing on the bench on some of the teams I've coached that have come in here, you look at those guys - as an opposing coach - and they grab your attention. I can't wait to get to work with those guys. I'm excited to have them here both from a playing perspective and from a leadership perspective."

DeBoer is also hoping to get the most out of his players on the offensive side of the puck - something the Stars struggled with during the 2021-22 season.

"We want to unlock some of that offensive potential of the group," he said. "Offense doesn't start in the offensive zone. It starts with being able to get out of your own zone clean, getting through the neutral zone with speed and then playing in the offensive zone and getting your defensemen involved.

"One of the things I've taken a lot of pride in over my time in the NHL especially in San Jose and Vegas most recently was the importance of getting your defensemen involved in the offensive game. In order to create offense in this league now, you have to be able to move as a five-man unit and get everybody up the ice and involved."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Kyle Shohara is the Digital Manager for and writes about the Stars/NHL. Follow him on Twitter @kyleshohara.

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