Ken Hitchcock was officially announced Thursday as the Dallas Stars' new head coach, marking his second go-round with the franchise.
It's been 15 years since Hitchcock coached the Stars, so it may take some time for Dallas to get re-acquainted with the coach that led them to their only Stanley Cup.
Here are eight things to know about the man once again at the helm for the Stars:
Hitchcock was Stars’ 2nd coach, returning as their 8th
Hitchcock replaced general manager-slash-head coach Bob Gainey as the Stars’ second-ever head coach midway through the 1996 season, earning a promotion from the Michigan K-Wings, the Stars’ IHL affiliate. Hitch coached the Stars until midway through the 2002 season. Six coaches later, he comes back to a Dallas team that epically underachieved in 2016-17.
Party like it’s 1999: Hitch is winningest coach in Stars history
Hitchcock led the Stars to five straight division titles in the five full seasons of his first stint in Dallas, including back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals appearances. Hitch was fired with a .622 winning percentage, better than anyone else who has helmed the Stars.
He loves Dallas
In a 2016 interview with 103.3 ESPN Radio, Hitchcock sang the praises of D-town and said he was comfortable living here.
“Of all the places I've ever lived or worked in, Dallas has been the best. We all talk, all of us that were in Dallas we all talked about when we retire that's where we're all moving back to,” he said to the radio station’s Tim Cowlishaw and Matt Mosley.
He’ll stick around as a consultant
Stars GM Jim Nill said Thursday that Hitchcock returns to Dallas on a “multi-year deal,” but didn’t disclose terms. The contract apparently includes a transition to a consulting role with the team when his head coaching days are over.
A distinct coaching style
In addition to a coaching style that focuses on defense, Hitchcock has a reputation for being tough on his players. He’s known to not mince words or show members of the media when he isn’t happy. He was asked Thursday about whether he “grinds on his players” and if it at times wears on players.
“Yeah,” he said. “And I’m proud of it.”
Stars players quit on him in 2002
That ruthless coaching style caused some members of the 2002 Stars to stop listening to their head coach, despite the team’s run of success under him. An ESPN article that year quoted a couple of the franchise’s greatest all-time players:
"He's used the same tactics since the Stanley Cup. Nothing's changed. It's been the same and maybe people did stop listening."
Mike Modano agreed.
"We weren't responding to anything as players," he said.
This is his second stop with a former team
Hitchcock returns to the Stars a decade-and-a-half after leaving, but it’s not his first time returning to a former club. Hitchcock, who started his coaching career with the Philadelphia Flyers, returned to the City of Brotherly Love right after being fired by the Stars in 2002.
Around the league(s)
The 65-year-old Canadian has coached professional hockey since 1984. He found success in six seasons with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers before making the jump to the NHL. There, he’s coached for the Flyers (1990-94, 2002-06), Stars (1996-2002, 2017), Columbus Blue Jackets (2006-11) and St. Louis Blues (2011-17).
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