Flyers end suspense, give coach Hitchcock extension

Updated: September 18, 2006, 3:32 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock signed a new three-year contract with the Flyers through 2008-09.

Hitchcock, entering his fourth season, is 130-77-39 in the regular season with Philadelphia. He led the Flyers to the conference finals in 2004, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who later won the Stanley Cup.

Ken Hitchcock's Career
Team Years Reg. Season Playoffs
Dallas 1996-2002 277-166-60 47-33*
Phila. 2002-2006** 131-83-40 19-18
Total 11 seasons 408-249-100 66-51
* Won 1999 Stanley Cup.
**Fired eight games into 2006-07 season.
Note: Regular-season records factor in overtime and shootout losses.

Hitchcock said negotiations with general manager Bob Clarke lasted "only about 30 seconds."

"The important thing for me was, when you put the work in and make the decision to play younger players to build the fabric for years, you want to be around when they mature," Hitchcock said.

Clarke said the contract extension was the "final piece of stability" the team wanted at the beginning of training camp.

"I think if you're a coach, there has to be some comfort level and a commitment from the organization, too," Clarke said. "But I don't think the contract makes the coach better. He's earned it."

In 10 NHL seasons with Dallas and Philadelphia, Hitchcock is 407-243-99. He is 66-51 in playoff games and won the Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999.

Hitchcock, who is 54, knows he has a challenge working with a rebuilding team, but insists his contract situation wouldn't have been a distraction.

"I didn't think that much about it [the contract]," he said. "I live pretty much week to week. Nine months is a long term for me. That's just the way I live the season."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press