NHL's Flyers fire former UND head coach Hakstol

Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol stands behind the bench in a September game. Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol stands behind the bench in a September game. Eric Hartline / USA TODAY SportsEric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers fired head coach Dave Hakstol on Monday in the former University of North Dakota coach's fourth season.

The Flyers, who have gone to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in two of Hakstol's three full seasons in Philadelphia, are 12-15-4 and in last place in the Eastern Conference.

“After meeting this morning with Dave Hakstol and thoughtful consideration, I have decided to relieve him of his duties as head coach,” Flyers General Manager Chuck Fletcher said in a statement. “As I continue to assess the team, I feel that this is the best course of action for our group moving forward. I’d like to thank Dave for his service to the team and the organization.”

Scott Gordon was named head coach on an interim basis.

The Flyers were winless last week in a four-game road trip in Western Canada -- losing to Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Hakstol, a former UND captain, was head coach at UND from 2004 to 2015.

He was fired exactly three weeks to the day that the Flyers fired general manager Ron Hextall, who made Hakstol the first coach to go from college to a head NHL job in 30 years. Since Hakstol's hiring, Denver's Jim Montgomery has gone to the Dallas Stars and Boston's David Quinn has gone to the New York Rangers.

Hakstol was the fourth-longest tenured head coach in the NHL behind only Tampa Bay's Jon Cooper, Winnipeg's Paul Maurice and Nashville's Peter Laviolette.

“I was tremendously impressed with Dave Hakstol as a human being,” Fletcher told NHL.com. “To my eyes, there was a disconnect between what he was preaching and how the players were playing. As a leader of the team that falls on him. We need a new voice. We need a new message to the players and hopefully the players hear that message.”

Fletcher was named Hextall’s replacement Dec. 3.

Hakstol, 50, was 134-101-42 in four seasons. His 277 regular-season games are third among Flyers coaches behind Fred Shero (554) and Mike Keenan (320).

After no coaches were fired in-season during the 2017-18 year, Hakstol becomes the fifth coach fired this season in the NHL.