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Dallas Stars Want To Win Like It's 1999, So They're Bringing Back Ken Hitchcock As Coach

Bill Zeeble
The Dallas Stars lost in the NHL playoffs last season to the St. Louis Blues, then coached by Ken Hitchcock. Now, Hitchcock's back in charge in Dallas, where he won the Stanley Cup in 1999.

The Dallas Stars Thursday named a new coach – and he's the same one who brought them a Stanley Cup nearly two decades ago. The announcement of Ken Hitchcock's hiring comes after the Stars melted down in one of their worst seasons since coming to Dallas.

Hitchcock said he and the game have changed since he coached the Stars to their only championship in 1999. Despite this year’s losing record, he’s focused on the team’s energy -- which he witnessed first-hand while coaching the St. Louis Blues. (He was fired two months ago.)

“I got to tell you coming here, I was selfish. I was selfish because I’m the one guy that’s coached against this team more than anybody," he said. "And I saw what this team did to us last year. I saw how hard it was to play this team…I saw the reckless energy and spirit this team played with and I know I can get that back quickly.”

Hitchcock first took the helm in Dallas in 1996, leading the Stars to the playoffs for five straight years before being fired in 2002. He then coached the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets before moving to St. Louis.

Jim Nill, the Stars' general manager, has known Hitchcock for years and reached out after St. Louis dropped him.

“I was so excited, and thrilled of his passion and energy that he had to get back to coaching," Nill said. "He’s recharged, he wants to make a difference, and I know he’s the right man for the job.”

Hitchcock, who’s 65, says he almost retired after St. Louis said goodbye. He’s back with new ideas, which he hopes will soon lead this young team to the playoffs again.

Hitchcock is replacing Lindy Ruff, whose departure was announced Sunday. His four-year contract with the Stars was not extended.