New Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol listens during a news conference June, 24 in Seattle. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times via AP)

New Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol listens during a news conference June, 24 in Seattle. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times via AP)

Seattle Kraken putting together NHL coaching staff

The Seattle Kraken inaugural season is rapidly approaching, and with the expansion draft and first-year player entry draft at the end of this month the team has hired its first head coach and two assistant coaches.

General manager Ron Francis tapped former Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol to be the franchise’s first bench boss and his first two assistants, Paul McFarland and Jay Leach, were announced Tuesday.

Hakstol, 52, guided the Flyers for three and a half seasons and finished with a 134-101-42 record, qualifying for the playoffs twice. It was his first head coaching gig in the NHL after over a decade in the NCAA ranks as head coach of the University of North Dakota, where his teams qualified for the Frozen Four seven times.

Hakstol spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“It is an honor to be the first head coach of the Seattle Kraken,” Hakstol said. “I am honored to be joining this tremendous group of staff and fans. When I first saw the arena, I was blown away – it is such a unique venue. I am looking forward to being a part of the group that builds a team that plays with pride, passion and selflessness for the city of Seattle.”

Leach, 41, had a long professional career as a defenseman, mostly in the minor leagues in the New Jersey Devils farm system. He was captain of their American Hockey League affiliate and played 70 games in the NHL before retiring in 2013.

He has spent the past four seasons as head coach of the Boston Bruins’ successful AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. Leach will coach Seattle’s defensemen.

“From the ownership group to Ron Francis to Dave Hakstol, it is truly an incredible opportunity to work with them. I’m looking forward to the expansion draft, free agency and training camp as we start to see the team come to fruition,” Leach said.

McFarland, 35, will handle the forwards and the power play. He comes to Seattle from the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League, one of three junior leagues in the Canadian Hockey League. McFarland has also previously been an assistant coach with the Maple Leafs, where he worked with Hakstol. He also spent two years as an assistant with the Florida Panthers.

“It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I look forward to working with Dave again, the rest of our staff, and our players,” McFarland said.

More in Sports

Nick Zeller-Singh
Why Seattle is a perfect spot for 2026 World Cup

Seattle is one of 16 locations in North America to host the… Continue reading

David Musselman worked as a security guard and in customer service for the Seattle Seahawks for nearly seven seasons. Courtesy Photos
Poulsbo firefighter’s path to Seahawks security

First in a series on locals involved with professional sports Dave Musselman… Continue reading

Nicholas Zeller-Singh/Kitsap News Group photos
Kitsap County residents have seen a spike in participation numbers of all ages since the Seattle Kraken started.
Kraken spark more interest in hockey in Kitsap County

The Seattle Kraken pro team has been a hit in Kitsap County,… Continue reading

Salix Wartes-Kahl of NK placed second to lead the Vikings at state. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK gets 6 Top 5 finishes at 2A state

Salix Wartes-Kahl had the best finish for North Kitsap at the state… Continue reading

Senior catcher Colton Bower was a big reason for NK’s success this season. He will be on scholarship to play for Washington State University next year.
NK baseball stunned in 1st round at state

North Kitsap’s baseball team won over 20 games and only lost a… Continue reading

Makayla Stockman winds up to pitch for the Vikings. Steve Powell/File Photos
NK girls make it to state the hard way

Competitions took place last weekend to see who would advance to the… Continue reading

Pitcher Noah Sorensen moved the ball around and struck out a number of Pirates.
NK wins district title, on to state

Kingston wins 1 before being eliminated

NK's Angel Chavez (8), a junior forward, and Jackson Reeves (12) rush back to defend to keep Clover Park from scoring a breakaway goal. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK wins in soccer, softball

North Kitsap is still alive in the District 2/3 2A boys soccer… Continue reading

Laine Miller of NK tossed the discus over 142 feet to win the discus. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK boys, girls win home track meet

Whether it’s for first place, or last, or somewhere in between, high… Continue reading

Kingston sophomore Peau Tameilau (33) slides safety into home plate as catcher Colton Bower of North Kitsap awaits the throw. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK comes back to beat Kingston

For a little while, it looked like Kingston might upset rival North… Continue reading

The free fishing derby put on by the Lions Club is Saturday in Poulsbo. Courtesy Photo
Free fishing derby Saturday in Poulsbo

The Poulsbo Noon Lions Club is hosting a “Hooked on Fish Derby”… Continue reading

Colton Bower of NK dives safely back to first base after hitting a single in the first inning. Zach Duffy of BHS applies the tag. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald
NK falls to league-leading Bainbridge

You can bet the North Kitsap Viking outfielders are going to be… Continue reading