Kraken AHL affiliate hire Dan Bylsma as first head coach

Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma, top, looks on during an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in Buffalo, N.Y. (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)

The Coachella Valley Firebirds have announced the hiring of Dan Bylsma as the first head coach in the franchise’s history. The Seattle Kraken AHL affiliate will play their inaugural season in 2022-23.

“We’re excited to name Dan Bylsma the first head coach in Coachella Valley Firebirds history,” said Kraken GM Ron Francis in a statement. “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.”

Bylsma was hired by the Kraken on Aug. 10, 2021 to become assistant coach with Seattle’s then-AHL affiliate — the Charlotte Checkers. With the Firebirds setting up shop as the Kraken’s standalone affiliate, Bylsma was promoted to Firebirds head coach.

“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,” said Firebirds president Steve Fraser in a statement.

Bylsma had an eight-year head coaching career in the NHL behind the benches of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. He won the Stanley Cup in his first season behind the Penguins’ bench in 2008-09 and won the Jack Adams award in 2011.

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