Dallas Stars coach Ken Hitchcock is retiring, ending a 22-year career as the third-winningest coach in NHL history.
Hitchcock will become a consultant for the team he led to its only Stanley Cup championship in 1999. The 67-year-old says it was "the right time to step away and let the younger generation of coaches take over."
"We were honored to have Ken as our head coach and it was fitting that he finished his coaching here," said Dallas Stars Owner and Governor Tom Gaglardi. "He is a certain Hockey Hall of Fame coach and he left a lasting legacy wherever he went. He will forever be a Dallas Star and I look forward to his continued friendship."
Hitchcock returned to Dallas this season after 15 years away, with stops in Philadelphia, Columbus and St. Louis. General manager Jim Nill hoped Hitchcock could get the Stars back to the playoffs, but a late-season slump kept them out for the second straight year and the eighth time in 10 seasons.
"Ken Hitchcock is an icon when it comes to head coaches, not only in hockey, but across all of sports," stated Nill. "He poured his whole life into better understanding in-game concepts and strategy, inspiring players and enhancing teams. He leaves an indelible mark on the game and his influence will be felt across the sport for years to come. We want to thank Ken for all that he has given throughout his coaching career."
He guided Dallas to two trips to the Stanley Cup Final and led the Stars to the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship in 1999.
See Hitchcock's full statement below:
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