Dan Bylsma Appointed as Seattle Kraken’s New Head Coach

Dan Bylsma, Seattle Kraken head coach

The Seattle Kraken have made a significant coaching announcement, appointing Dan Bylsma as their new head coach. Bylsma, previously the head coach of the Coachella Valley Firebirds, joins the Kraken with an impressive track record in hockey coaching.

Bylsma’s tenure with the Firebirds, starting in June 2022, saw remarkable success as the team achieved notable milestones. Under his leadership, the Coachella Valley Firebirds became only the second team in AHL history to surpass 100 points in each of their first two seasons. This remarkable feat solidified Bylsma’s reputation as a skilled and effective coach, with the Firebirds boasting a combined record of 94 wins, 32 losses, 11 overtime losses, and 7 shootout losses, amounting to a winning percentage of .715.

The Firebirds’ performance under Bylsma’s guidance was consistently strong, finishing as the second-best team in the 32-team league in both the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons. In the most recent season, the Firebirds clinched the Pacific Division title, showcasing Bylsma’s ability to lead teams to excellence.

Bylsma’s coaching prowess was further demonstrated in the Calder Cup Playoffs, where he steered the Firebirds to a Western Conference championship in 2023. Although they narrowly missed the Calder Cup in a hard-fought Game 7 overtime loss, Bylsma’s strategic acumen and leadership were evident throughout the playoffs.

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His return to the conference finals with the Firebirds this postseason reflects his consistency in achieving high performance levels with his teams. The Firebirds, under Bylsma’s guidance, are set to face off against Milwaukee in the conference finals starting Wednesday night.

Bylsma’s journey with the Seattle Kraken began when he was appointed as an assistant coach for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers in the 2021-22 season. During this time, he worked closely with Seattle’s prospects as part of a collaborative effort with the Florida Panthers.

Prior to his tenure with the Firebirds and the Kraken organization, Bylsma gained extensive NHL head coaching experience with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres. His accomplishments include leading the Penguins to a Stanley Cup victory in 2009 and earning the Jack Adams Award for outstanding coaching in 2010-11. His contributions to the Detroit Red Wings as an assistant coach further enriched his coaching expertise.

Internationally, Bylsma’s coaching talents were showcased as he served as the head coach for the United States men’s hockey team at the 2014 Olympics. Additionally, he contributed as an assistant coach for Team USA in the IIHF World Championship, contributing to bronze medal victories in 2015 and 2018.

A native of Grand Haven, Michigan, Bylsma brings a wealth of experience from his 12-year professional playing career, which included notable stints in the AHL and the NHL. His on-ice experience, coupled with his coaching achievements, positions him as a valuable asset to the Seattle Kraken as they embark on their journey in the NHL under his leadership.

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