Related Biography: Hockey Coach Ken Hitchcock
Ken Hitchcock was born in 1951 in Alberta, Canada. His rise through the coaching ranks began with a six-season stint with the Kamloops Blazers in Canada's Western Hockey League in 1984. He then jumped into the NHL as assistant coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. In 1993 he became the head coach of the International Hockey League's Kalamazoo Wings, and in 1996 he returned to the NHL as the head coach of the Dallas Stars.
Hitchcock's strategy emphasized the importance of teamwork, which clashed with the style of some players such as Brett Hull, who joined the Stars in 1998. Hull and Hitchcock sometimes clashed over their approaches to the game, but Hull admitted that Hitchcock forced him to become a better all-around player. Although the Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999, the team declined to renew Hull's contract in 2001. Hull later signed with the Detroit Red Wings, who won the Stanley Cup in 2002.
For the 2002-2003 season, Hitchcock joined the Philadelphia Flyers as head coach. Hitchcock also served as the assistant coach on the Canadian men's hockey team at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, where the squad won the Gold Medal.