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Longtime NHL head coach Ken Hitchcock announced his retirement on Friday following 22 seasons with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues.
Hitchcock led the Stars to the Stanley Cup in 1999, the only championship of his career, and returned to Dallas last April for his final season behind the bench. The team confirmed he’ll remain within the organization as a consultant.
“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.”
Hitchcock guided Dallas to a 42-32-8 record this season, but the team’s 92 points fell three short of a playoff berth in the Western Conference.
In February, the 66-year-old Canada native explained the difference between his two stints with the Stars to Stephen Hawkins of the Associated Press, with the first starting in 1996.
“It was half coaching and half community involvement, trying to build the brand,” he said. “It was a really exciting, different observation for all of us. … At least once or twice a week, we were meeting with groups to just explain what hockey was about.”
Hitchcock finishes his NHL coaching career with an 823-506-88-119 record. His teams qualified for the playoffs in 14 of 22 seasons.
He was also an active member of the Hockey Canada coaching community. He owns three Olympic gold medals as a member of the Canadian staff at the 2002, 2010 and 2014 Winter Games.