Bylsma named new head coach of Kraken

Photo: Mike Zitek/AHL

The Seattle Kraken have named Coachella Valley Firebirds head coach Dan Bylsma the new head coach of the National Hockey League club.

Under Bylsma, who was named the Firebirds’ first head coach on June 21, 2022, Coachella Valley became just the second team in AHL history to top 100 points in the standings in each of its first two seasons of play. Bylsma led the club to a combined 94-32-11-7 record (.715), finishing second overall in the 32-team league in both 2022-23 and 2023-24 and winning the Pacific Division title this year.

In the Calder Cup Playoffs, Bylsma guided the Firebirds to a Western Conference championship in 2023 before they lost in overtime of Game 7 of the Calder Cup Finals. This postseason, Bylsma has his team back in the conference finals where they will face Milwaukee beginning Wednesday night.

Bylsma first joined the Kraken organization when he was hired as an assistant coach for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers in 2021-22, working with Seattle prospects as part of a shared affiliation with the Florida Panthers.

Bylsma’s previous NHL head coaching experience came with Pittsburgh and Buffalo. He won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009 and earned the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s outstanding coach in 2010-11. He also served as an assistant for three seasons with Detroit.

Bylsma began his coaching career as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Cincinnati Mighty Ducks in 2004-05. He later served as an assistant with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2006-08, and as head coach in 2008-09 before being promoted to Pittsburgh.

Internationally, Bylsma was head coach of the United States men’s hockey team for the 2014 Olympics. He also served as an assistant coach for Team USA in the IIHF World Championship three times, helping the team to bronze medals in 2015 and 2018.

A native of Grand Haven, Mich., Bylsma played 12 pro seasons from 1992 to 2004, including stints in the AHL with Rochester, Moncton, Albany, Springfield, Lowell and Cincinnati. He played 429 games in the NHL and reached the Stanley Cup Final with Anaheim in 2003.