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Seattle Kraken name Dave Hakstol as first head coach in franchise history

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The Seattle Kraken on Thursday announced Dave Hakstol as the first head coach in franchise history.

The NHL approved a proposal to grant an expansion franchise to Seattle in 2018. In July 2020, the team revealed the Kraken as the mascot as well as branding and team colors. Luke Henman recently become the first player in franchise history when Seattle inked three-year entry level contract with the center on May 12.

Hakstol coached at the University of North Dakota for 11 seasons. He was named the Philadelphia Flyers’ head coach in 2015, becoming the first head coach to go directly from the NCAA to the NHL since 1982. Hakstol led the Flyers to three winning records in his first three years, but was fired after a 12-15-4 start to the 2018-19 season.

Dave Hakstol coached the Flyers from 2015-19.
Dave Hakstol coached the Flyers from 2015-19.

In 2019, he was hired as assistant head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Dave is confident, strong on technical aspects of playing three-zone game,” said Seattle GM Ron Francis. “Tracking back to University of North Dakota days, Dave is a coach who cares about his players. At times, a coach’s messages can get diluted. Players want to understand what the coach wants them to do. Dave communicates clearly and concisely. Players like that.”

Hakstol spent much of his career – both coaching and playing – with the University of North Dakota. He played college hockey from 1989 to 1992 and played minor league hockey for five years before hanging up the skates. He spent a little over four years with the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL before returning to his alma mater as an assistant in 2000.

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In 2004, Hakstol was named head coach of the Fighting Hawks. He compiled a 289-143-43 record and led North Dakota to the national tournament every year. The Fighting Hawks made the Frozen Four seven times and went to the national championship once under Hakstol, but never won the title.

“He turns kids into men,” said Stephane Pattyn, a former North Dakota player. “He’s by far the greatest coach I’ve ever played for. He’s taught me a lot on the ice and as a person. Every guy in that room has his back. He genuinely cares about all of us.”

Hakstol will be head coach for less than a month before the 2021 Expansion Draft, set to take place July 21. Seattle will then have the second overall pick in the NHL Draft on July 23.

Contact Alyssa Hertel at ahertel@usatoday.com or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dave Hakstol named first head coach in Seattle Kraken history