Dave Hakstol announced as Flyers new head coach

“He was our target all along.” Flyers General Manager Ron Hextall said in a press conference on Monday officially announcing the new Flyers Head Coach.

 

Hextall had better hope he’s right about his new hire, because with even less NHL coaching experience than his predecessor, Craig Berube, Hakstol will probably be expected to hit the ground running. Hakstol is also making some history by being only the second NCAA head coach to make the jump straight to NHL head coach since Herb Brooks in 1987, and he’s making the jump right into a very tough environment in Philadelphia; especially after the frustration with Berube.

Hakstol’s coaching record is already impressive; after 11 years at University of North Dakota, he has a 289-143-43 record and has led the team to seven NCAA Frozen Four championship games. He may not have any NHL coaching experience, but Hakstol has coached players who went on to become impressive NHlers like Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, Travis Zajac, and Drew Stafford. He also coached Ron Hextall’s son Brett Hextall, a current Lehigh Valley Phantoms player and Flyers prospect. Hakstol’s ability to develop young players will be a key talent for the future of the Flyers which will rely heavily on young prospects instead of an older roster. His work with younger players was probably a key part in Hextall’s decision to hire him.

Despite being linked to the Mike Babcock race until very recently, it appears that Hextall never truly intended to chase down the winningest coach. Hextall was also linked to other big name coaches like Tod McLellan, Davis Payne and even interviewed former Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins, but none were the top target for Hextall.

“I was never going to hire the people’s choice, the popular choice, I was going to hire the best coach for this franchise.” Hextall said in a very Herb Brooks like statement.

At the press conference, Hakstol had a familiar message of accountability when asked about his approach to his new job, a message we’ve heard before here in Philly that didn’t work out too well; hopefully the former UND coach can get accountability right.

 

And of course there’s always this to look forward to…

 

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