The Philadelphia Flyers have been extremely quiet about their coaching search ... and they shocked just about everybody on Monday morning, naming University of North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol the 19th head coach in team history.
Hakstol has been the head coach at North Dakota since 2004, and was an assistant for four seasons before that. He's led his team to the Frozen Four in each of the last two seasons, including two absolutely crushing loss -- one to Minnesota in the final second of the national semifinal in Philadelphia. In total, Hakstol led North Dakota to seven Frozen Fours in 11 years, and they made the NCAA tournament 11 times.
He's widely regarded in the college ranks as an excellent head coach, and he's had a ton of success, but this will be his first NHL coaching gig. So there are questions. The college game is much, much different than the NHL game -- everything from the personality of the players to the type of game that's played. Hopefully this means that he will be a great coach to help this team -- a team that will get much younger the next two years -- grow into the type of contender Hakstol was able to build at UND.
Over the course of today, we will dive into Hakstol's resume, his playing style, his famed intensity, and what this means for the Flyers going forward.
Here's the team press release:
Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall announced this morning that Dave Hakstol has been named the 19th head coach in Flyers history.
"Dave brings a wealth of head coaching experience and success to the Philadelphia Flyers organization," said Hextall. "He’s a proven winner and we are pleased to have him become part of the Flyers family."
"I am extremely excited to be named the Philadelphia Flyers new head coach," said Hakstol. "Through the process here with Ron [Hextall] and everybody in the Flyers organization I have gained even more of an understanding of the history and tradition of this organization and I’m very proud to become part of the Philadelphia Flyers today."
Hakstol, 46 (7/30/1968), comes to the Flyers from the University of North Dakota where he spent the last 11 seasons compiling an overall record of 289-143-43 with a .654 winning percentage in 475 games. In 2014-15, he led North Dakota to a 29-10-3 record with a .726 winning percentage and a berth in the NCAA Frozen Four.
North Dakota made the NCAA Tournament in every one of Hakstol’s 11 seasons and reached the Frozen Four seven times in that span, which is the most of any program in the country during that period. Hakstol led North Dakota to an overall postseason record of 54-24 for a .692 winning percentage, including a 17-11 record in the NCAA Tournament, during his tenure.
He joined the school’s coaching staff in 2000 as an assistant coach, and took over the head coaching job four years later. Under Hakstol’s watch, North Dakota won three regular season conference championships – two in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA, 2008-09, 2010-11) and one in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC, 2014-15). North Dakota also won WCHA playoff championships in 2005-06, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12. Hakstol received conference coach of the year honors twice, in the WCHA in 2008-09 and in the NCHC in 2014-15. He was also an eight-time finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award as national coach of the year.
Hakstol’s program has produced 20 NHL players and a total of 46 that have played professionally at some level. His former players include Jonathan Toews (CHI) and Matt Greene (LAK), each of whom have won two Stanley Cups since leaving the school, as well as T.J. Oshie (STL), Travis Zajac (NJD), Drew Stafford (BUF, WPG) and Chris VandeVelde (EDM, PHI). He has also had seven players named Hobey Baker Award finalists, including Ryan Duncan who won the award in 2007, and 11 players named All-Americans.