Blues coach Hitchcock signs one-year deal, will retire after 2016-17


Ken Hitchcock helped the St Louis Blues get over a big hurdle this postseason, and the team have rewarded their coach by keeping him behind the bench for the 2016-17 season.

Hitchcock, 64, said the run to the Western Conference finals, where they were beaten by the San Jose Sharks, made him want to come back.

"This season has invigorated me like no season before," he said during a media conference.

"For 10 years, I haven't seen anything like this and it was really exciting. It was fun to be around and it was a great group of people with a tremendously structured, defined leadership [group] in that locker room.

"It made it so fun to coach. I really think we have another gear in us and I want to be part of that."

Hitchcock also announced the 2016-17 season would be his last.

"I'm not coaching after this year," he said. "This is it. I'm done."

"To me, I'm just ready to go for next year. I'm excited. I feel like I've got one really good year in me."

In Hitchcock's six seasons in St Louis, while going 224-103-36, the Blues had, before this year, advanced past the first round of the playoffs only once, in his first season in 2011-12.

This year, however, the Blues jumped that hurdle - and more - reaching the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2001.