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Seattle Kraken coach search is on: Rick Tocchet is first reported interview

Rick Tocchet is the first known head coaching candidate for the Seattle Kraken. (Getty)

The Seattle Kraken have their name, their uniforms, their arena, their general manager and even their very first player, but one thing the team does not have at this moment is a head coach.

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That could be changing soon, though, as Frank Seravalli of TSN Sports reported Tuesday afternoon that the Kraken will be interviewing Rick Tocchet to be the franchise’s first head coach.

As Seravalli mentions, the 57-year-old Tocchet is the first known candidate for the Kraken’s head coaching gig. The Kraken will begin play during the 2021-22 season that is scheduled to begin in October. The Kraken will partake in an expansion draft set July 21 while the annual NHL Entry Draft is scheduled for July 23-24.

So who is Rick Tocchet?

He played in the NHL from 1984 to 2002 as a right wing and has 952 career points to his name. After retiring, he started coaching as an assistant for the Colorado Avalanche in 2002 and later joined the Arizona Coyotes. From 2006 to 2008, Tocchet was out of hockey as he was accused of financing a nationwide sports gambling ring that he told reporters revolved around football games. He pled guilty to conspiracy and promoting gambling in New Jersey in 2007 and was reinstated by the NHL in 2008.

Tocchet was hired as associate coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning in July 2008 and later became their interim head coach during the 2008-09 season after head coach Barry Melrose was fired. The Lightning then removed the interim title for the 2009-10 season. After that season, though, he was fired due in large part to the Lightning getting new ownership.

Tocchet later joined the Pittsburgh Penguins coaching staff before getting hired as the Arizona Coyotes head coach in 2017. He held that title through the 2020-21 season, after which he and the team decided to part ways.

Tocchet has a career head coaching record of 178-200-60 in six years with one playoff appearance.

While his coaching numbers may not jump off the page, Tocchet has a relationship with a key figure of the Kraken, and that’s general manager Ron Francis.

Francis was a Hall of Fame center who recorded 1,798 career points (fifth all-time) while playing from 1981 to 2004. He and Tocchet were teammates from 1991 to 1994 with Pittsburgh, where they won the Stanley Cup in the 1991-92 season.

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