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Seattle Kraken HC Dave Hakstol
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Seattle Kraken hire Dave Hakstol as franchise’s first head coach

Former Flyers HC Dave Hakstol has been named the Seattle Kraken's first HC. (Getty)

The Seattle Kraken have officially hired the first head coach in team history: Dave Hakstol, who has head coaching experience in both the college and professional ranks.

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The Kraken announced the hiring of Hakstol on Twitter Thursday morning.

“I am incredibly proud to announce Dave Hakstol as the first head coach of the Seattle Kraken franchise,” Kraken general manager Ron Francis said in a press release. “Dave possesses great experience, a strong work ethic, a solid technical understanding of the game, and the remarkable ability to communicate clearly and effectively. I look forward to working with Dave as we strive to build a team our fans will be proud of.”

“It is an honor to be the first head coach of the Seattle Kraken,” Hakstol said. “I am honored to be joining this tremendous group of staff and fans. When I first saw the arena, I was blown away – it is such a unique venue. I am looking forward to being a part of the group that builds a team that plays with pride, passion and selflessness for the city of Seattle.”

Hakstol, 52, played hockey at the University of North Dakota and spent five seasons in the minor leagues. After his playing career concluded, Hakstol started his coaching career with the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey league, working his way up to head coach, a position he served for four seasons.

After four years in Sioux City, Hakstol returned to his alma mater of UND where he served as an assistant from 2000 to 2004, when he was named the program’s head coach. From 2004 to 2015, North Dakota went 289-143-43 under Hakstol, which included seven Frozen Four appearances during his tenure as head coach.

After a successful run in the college ranks, Hakstol was named head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2015 and served in that role until he was fired partway through his fourth season. During four years in Philadelphia, Hakstol’s teams compiled a 134-101-42 record and made the playoffs twice, falling in the first round both times. Hakstol most recently was an assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs for the last two seasons, primarily working with the team’s defensemen.

With Hakstol on board, the Kraken now have a head coach to work alongside Francis, who compiled a Hall of Fame career on the ice during 23 years in the NHL. He later was general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Some of Francis’ former teammates and colleagues in Carolina were rumored to be in the running for the Kraken’s head coaching job, such as Rick Tocchet and Rod Brind’Amour, but Hakstol will be the man for the job as Seattle prepares for its first season starting later in 2021.

Next up for the Kraken is their expansion draft on July 21, where the team will select players for their inaugural season, which is set to begin this fall. A few days after the expansion draft, the Kraken will participate in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. They have the No. 2 overall pick.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

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