Photo credit:Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Former Edmonton Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock named to Hockey Hall of Fame
By Zach Laing8 months ago
Welcome to the Hall, Ken.
Edmonton native and former Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock has been named to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the 2023 class.
Named to the Hall as a builder alongside former NHL GM Pierre Lacroix, who managed the Colorado Avalanche between 1994 and 2006 winning two Stanley Cups with the club. Players named to the Hall this year were Tom Barrasso, Mike Vernon, Henrik Lundqvist, Pierre Turgeron and Caroline Oullette.
While Hitchcock was known for his work in the NHL as a head coach helping bring the Dallas Stars a Stanley Cup in 1999, he’s known locally for so much more than that. He got his start in Edmonton coaching at various lower level before eventually working with the AAA Sherwood Park Kings after learning the craft from Clare Drake.
Over the eight years that Hitchcock worked with the team between 1976 and 1984, he coached the clubs to a combined record of 575-69-11 winning four provincial championships.
“I know his history in the NHL and he was exactly the same when he coached minor hockey,” Dave McReynolds, who played under Hitchcock between 1980 and 1982, told The Athletic in 2018. “It was about being a disciplined team and really hard work. Zone coverage and systems were his specialty.”
Hitchcock would graduate to the WHL coaching the Kamloops Blazers for six years between 1984-90 and his teams continued to dominate. The Blazers won league championships in 1984-85 and 1989-90 coaching them to a impressive 291-125-15 record over the years.
A three-year stint as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers was his first break into the NHL between 1990-93, but Hitchhock was hired away as a head coach in the IHL for the Kalamazoo Wings, but only lasted two and a half seasons before the NHL came calling again.
It was the Dallas Stars, who named him head coach in 1995-96. Three years later, they were league champions.
Hitchcock had stints as a head coach with the Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and later the St. Louis Blues, before rejoining Dallas as bench boss in 2016-17. But the following year, he went back to where it all started in Edmonton.
Todd McLellan lasted just 20 games into the 2018-19 season and with the Oilers sputtering to a 9-10-1 record, Hitchcock came out of retirement and joined the team as their head coach. The sputtering continued through the rest of the season with the Oilers missing the playoffs after going 26-28-8 through the remaining 62 games of the season.
He remained on staff in 2019-20 and 2020-21 as a senior advisor and has spent the last two years as a coaching consultant with the St. Louis Blues.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent articles from Zach Laing
- With the Penguins reportedly wanting prospects over picks for Jake Guentzel, Edmonton Oilers would make perfect trade partner
- The Day After 58.0: Oilers leapfrog Golden Knights for second place in Pacific Division with win over Kraken
- ‘We feel really good about our goaltending:’ Oilers GM Ken Holland says he won’t be in the market for goaltending upgrades