Flyers ink coach John Stevens to two-year contract extension

PHILADELPHIA – John Stevens is sticking around in Philadelphia after signing a two-year contract extension.

The Flyers announced Thursday that Stevens is now under contract through the 2010-11 season.

“John is very deserving of this new contract,” GM Paul Holmgren said in a statement. “He is a very energetic coach who brings a lot of enthusiasm and passion to the game and we look forward to working together over the next few years.”

Stevens, 42, led the Flyers to the Eastern Conference final after posting a 42-29-11 record and 95 points to finish fourth in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference last season, his first full season as the club’s head coach.

The Flyers finished 39 points and 20 wins ahead of their totals from the previous season. The turnaround was the most of any team in the NHL this past season.

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“I am very excited,” said Stevens. “This is something that we talked about in the early part of the summer. We knew that it was just a matter of time before we got it done.

“I love being a part of this organization and the direction that the team is heading. I am extremely happy to be a part of it moving forward.”

Over the last two seasons, he has a 63-71-22 record in 156 career NHL games coached after being promoted from assistant coach on Oct. 22, 2006.

A native of Campbellton, N.B., Stevens played 15 seasons of professional hockey as a defenceman, including 53 career NHL games with the Flyers and Hartford Whalers.