Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock announces retirement tour

Ken Hitchcock GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 06: Head coach Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues watches from the bench during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 6, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Blues defeated the Coyotes 6-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Blues made it to the NHL Western Conference Finals this season before losing to the San Jose Sharks in six games. After a tremendous season ended just short of the Stanley Cup Final, head coach Ken Hitchcock announced he’s coming back for one last go at another Stanley Cup.

The 64-year-old had previously announced that the 2015-2016 season would be his last. But after finishing the regular season with 107 points at 49-24-9 and making it to the Western Conference Finals, Hitchcock has announced he’s coming back for his 20th and final season.

“I’m not coaching after this year,” Hitchcock said, leaving the door open for other options besides coaching. “I don’t know if I’m going to retire.”

So while Hitchcock will be done coaching after the 2016-2017 campaign, he apparently still has a desire to stay involved in hockey.

Hitchcock has been a head coach in the NHL since taking over in Dallas during the 1995-1996 season. He’s won one Stanley Cup, and that came in 1998-1999 with Dallas. Hitchcock made it back to the Cup Final the next year with the Stars, but lost.

The head coach has been with St. Louis since the 2011-2012 season and has led the Blues to four of the best five regular season records in franchise history. St. Louis has made the playoffs all five seasons with Hitchcock as head coach, but has lost in the conference quarterfinals three times, conference semifinals once, and conference finals once.

“There’s a lot of potential for growth left in our team,” he said. “When you break through the ceiling, the potential is unlimited.”

Hitchcock is 757-453-194 overall and is currently ranked fourth all-time in regular season wins. As a result, he could find himself in the Hall of Fame when all is said and done.

“If I’m not going to get better in the off-season, I’m doing a disservice,” Hitchcock said. “I’m ready to go for next year. I’m excited. This is an unbelievable group of guys with a lot of potential.”

After falling just short of a return to the Stanley Cup Final, Hitchcock wants more. If the Blues can retain their key players and add a couple more, they could give Hitchcock a happy ending to a Hall of Fame career.

[ESPN]

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.

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