Seattle Kraken showed courage and audacity when it appointed its first coach. They deviated from the safe route of going for big names and have instead selected Dave Hakstol, with his low profile but big potential.
Manager Ron Francis was firm and confident in his choice and said so in as many words. He said that his job wasn’t to get in the big names, but the person with the best opportunity to make the team successful.
The 52-year-old native of Warburg, Alberta was a defenseman in the minor leagues but made a name for himself as a coach. He rose through the junior ranks. He was hugely successful in college as head of the North Dakota program, a stunning success.
Dave Hakstol broke into the NHL first as the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers for three seasons. He was then an assistant at the Toronto Maple Leafs for the last two years.
Francis said that he had been in the game a long time to realize that Dave Hakstol was the right person for the team at the moment. He was looking for someone with a previous stint as a head coach at the NHL and Dave Hakstol seemed to him just right for the job.
Dave Hakstol’s Philadelphia Stint
Dave Hakstol was the head coach at the Flyers between 2015 and 2018. He had a 134-101-42 game record and reached the playoffs at the Stanley Cup twice in the three seasons he was with the team. A 12-15-4 start at the 2018 season saw him parting ways with the team.
Dave Hakstol was with the University of North Dakota before entering the NHL. He had taken the Hawks to an enviable 289-143-43 record during his 11 seasons there.
Hakstol’s appointment ends 2 years of speculation as the list was whittled down from the 100 initial names. He brings in 20 years of invaluable experience and has spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs.