Stars coach Hitchcock, 3rd in wins, retiring after 22 years

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Hitchcock had only signed a one-year deal to coach the Stars, with the plan to step into a consulting role as he now will.

Ken Hitchcock is expected to announce his retirement from coaching Friday and accept a job as advisor with the Stars, according to a source close to the situation. Hitchcock has 823 wins. He’s fourth in games with 1,536.

The 66-year-old led the Stars to their only Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1999.

“I have contemplated this since our last game and I came to the conclusion that now is the right time to step away and let the younger generation of coaches take over”, said Hitchcock, who previous year signed a multiyear contract that included the stipulation of becoming a consultant when he was finished coaching.

He then coached the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets before moving to St. Louis to coach the Blues. He returned to the Stars past year to try to return the team to the playoffs after a down season, but they collapsed down the stretch this spring and ended up missing out on a wild card spot.

“We were honoured to have Ken as our head coach and it was fitting that he finished his coaching here”, Stars owner Tom Gaglardi said.

He began his career in Dallas in 1995 and won a Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999. Those are the only times Hitchcock or the Stars have made it to the final. He first took the helm in 1996, leading the Stars to the playoffs for five straight years before being fired in 2002. The guy universally known across the National Hockey League as merely, “Hitch”, coached four separate teams, including the Stars twice and the Blue Jackets from 2006 to 2010. The Blues abruptly fired Hitchcock in February past year, cutting short what was already going to be his last season with the Blues after their fifth loss in six games. “Every city I coached in, I was lucky to be surrounded by dedicated, knowledgeable, passionate hockey fans”, he wrote. He was hired back with the Stars last April, replacing Lindy Ruff, whose four-year contract wasn’t extended.

Hitchcock retires with 14 playoff appearances, eight division titles and one Stanley Cup.

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