DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Stars have confirmed that head coach Ken Hitchcock is retiring from the NHL after just one season reunited with the team. Hitchcock helped bring a Stanley Cup to Dallas back in 1999, but had been away from the team for 15 years before rejoining them last April.
“The game of hockey has been my entire life and I could never repay what the game did for me and all the wonderful people I got to meet in my career,” Hitchcock said in a letter on Friday. “I would like to thank everyone for their friendship and support over the years.”
Hitchcock has also led the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues in his 22 years with the league. In a news release issued Friday morning, the Stars added that Hitchcock would remain with the team going forward, but only as a consultant.
The Stars ended the 2017-18 season with a 40-32-8 record, missing the playoffs. Hitchcock stated that he was contemplating retirement since the season’s last game. He said, “Now is 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 Tom Gaglardi, the owner of the Stars. “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.”
Across eight seasons and 585 regular season games with the Stars, Hitchcock has a 319-186-80 record. That ranks him at first in franchise history for games coached, wins and points percentage. He also holds a 47-33 record with the Stars in Stanley Cup Playoff games, in five postseason appearances with Dallas.
The team’s championship in 1999 remains the only Stanley Cup in Stars history.
“To finish my head coaching career where it all started and where we proudly hoisted the Stanley Cup for this great city, I will forever be grateful,” Hitchcock said. In his letter, Hitchcock thanked Gaglardi, his previous organizations, his former players, media members and hockey fans.
During his entire career, Hitchcock earned a 823-506-207 record across 1,536 regular season games. That places him in third all-time for wins and fourth all-time in games coached. Hitchcock also has a career playoff record of 86-82 in 168 postseason appearances.
“Ken Hitchcock is an icon when it comes to head coaches, not only in hockey, but across all sports,” added Stars GM Jim Nill in Friday morning’s news release. “He leaves an indelible mark on the game and his influence will be felt across the sport for years to come.”