Dave Hakstol named Jack Adams Award finalist as NHL's coach of the year
The former UND captain and head coach is one of three finalists after leading the Seattle Kraken to the playoffs in their second year
GRAND FORKS — Two years ago, Dave Hakstol was named the first head coach of the Seattle Kraken.
At the time, they had no players.
Within two years, the Kraken are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They set the NHL record for the biggest improvement from Year 1 to Year 2.
And they just knocked the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche out of the playoffs in the first round.
On Friday, Hakstol was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year.
The award will be handed out during the NHL's awards ceremony June 26 in Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
The other finalists are Boston Bruins coach Jim Montgomery and New Jersey Devils coach Lindy Ruff.
Hakstol coached against Montgomery at the college level for two seasons. Montgomery was at the University of Denver. Hakstol also is from the same hometown as Ruff — Warburg, Alberta, population 768.
The award is decided by a vote from the National Association of Broadcasters.
Final voting was completed at the end of the regular season.
Seattle improved by 19 wins and 40 points (from 60 to 100) from its inaugural season and ranked in the top five in shots against per game (27.0, second), goals per game (3.52, tied for fourth) and 5-on-5 shot attempts (401, fifth).
The Kraken also set an NHL record for the most consecutive wins on a road trip.
Seattle swept a seven-game road trip this season, beating the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.
Hakstol is aiming to become UND's second winner of the Jack Adams Award.
Dave Tippett won it with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2010.
The award dates back to 1974.
Hakstol was the head coach at UND for 11 years, taking the team to the NCAA Frozen Four seven times.
Hakstol won the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's coach of the year honor once. He also was named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference's Herb Brooks Coach of the Year once.