COACHELLA VALLEY (CNS) – The Coachella Valley Firebirds are bringing
some Stanley Cup winning experience to coach its AHL hockey team, the team has
announced on its website.
Dan Bylsma was hired as the head coach of the Coachella Valley
Firebirds, the affiliate of the NHL Seattle Kraken, and will become the first
coach in the new franchise’s history. He was the head coach of the Pittsburgh
Penguins when they won the Stanley Cup in 2009, and played for the Los Angeles
Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
“We’re excited to name Dan Bylsma the first head coach in Coachella
Valley Firebirds history,” Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis said.
“The head coach of our American Hockey League affiliate plays a critical role
in developing future Kraken players. Dan worked with our prospects this past
season in Charlotte and brings a wealth of NHL and AHL experience to our new
AHL club. We look forward to Dan guiding our team.”
In addition to coaching the Penguins, Bylsma was an assistant coach
for the Charlotte Checkers, home of the defending Calder Cup Champions, and was
selected assistant coach by the Seattle Kraken August 2021.
“I am honored and excited to be joining the Coachella Valley
Firebirds as the first coach in team history,” Bylsma said. “This is a unique
opportunity to continue collaborating with the Seattle Kraken in building a
championship organization from the desert floor up. I look forward to curating
the product on the ice to be a proud representation of the people, spirit and
passion that define the Coachella Valley.”
Bylsma coached in the NHL for eight years, six with the Penguins and
two with the Buffalo Sabres. He was awarded the Jack Adams Award given to the
league’s most outstanding coach in 2011 during his time with the Penguins. He
coach the Sabres from 2015 to 2017.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dan Bylsma to the Firebirds family and
look forward to his leadership in building a unified roster of players as well
as creating a championship product on the ice,” Steve Fraser, president of
Acrisure Arena and the Coachella Valley Firebirds, said. “We believe that Dan
best represents the core values of the Seattle Kraken and the Coachella Valley
Firebirds as well as the spirit of our community. We anticipate great things
coming out of the Coachella Valley as we embark on our debut season under his
Bylsma was appointed head coach of the United States Olympic Hockey
Team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The Firebirds will play their inaugural season at Acrisure Arena which
starts in December.
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