Philadelphia Flyers name North Dakota’s Dave Hakstol new bench boss

The Philadelphia Flyers have named former University of North Dakota men’s coach Dave Hakstol as their new bench boss. Hakstol led North Dakota to seven Frozen Four appearances and was nominated as national coach of the year eight times.

The Philadelphia Flyers have named their new head coach, but it’s not a name one would have expected. And no, while he has spent the past decade being part of a winning organization, it’s not Mike Babcock.

In a somewhat surprising move, the Flyers named Dave Hakstol, who has spent the past decade as the coach of the University of North Dakota men’s hockey program, as their bench boss for the 2015-16 season. The hiring comes as coaches such as Dan Bylsma, Todd McLellan and John Tortorella, all with NHL pedigree, remain without jobs for next season.

“Dave brings a wealth of head coaching experience and success to the Philadelphia Flyers organization,” said Philadelphia GM Ron Hextall in a release. “He’s a proven winner and we are pleased to have him become part of the Flyers family.”

In 475 games as the coach at University of North Dakota, Hakstol, 46, posted a record of 289-143-43 and led his squad to seven Frozen Four tournament appearances, the most of any club over that span. Hakstol was an eight-time finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award as coach of the year and led the team to four WCHA playoff championships and three regular season titles.

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“I am extremely excited to be named the Philadelphia Flyers new head coach,” said Hakstol. “Through the process here with Ron [Hextall] and everybody in the Flyers organization I have gained even more of an understanding of the history and tradition of this organization and I’m very proud to become part of the Philadelphia Flyers today.”

During his playing days, Hakstol suited up for the IHL’s Indianapolis Ice and Minnesota Moose. He becomes the 19th coach in Flyers history.