Bob Hartley, who was rumoured as a favourite to land the head coaching job with the Montreal Canadiens, was introduced as head coach of the Calgary Flames at a news conference on Thursday.
Hartley spent the 2011-12 season coaching the ZSC Lions in Zurich to the National A League Championship.
"Bob Hartley is a winner. Bob has won at every level he has coached, from the QMJHL to the AHL to the NHL to Switzerland, and we are confident he is going to continue his winning ways in Calgary," said Flames general manager Jay Feaster in a statement. "He is a tireless worker, an outstanding motivator, a great bench boss and game strategist; and a teacher at heart. Moreover, he is a great person as well."
Having coached 651 career NHL games, Hartley brings a wealth of experience as well as a winning pedigree to the Flames bench. Hartley coached the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup in 2001, the third of four consecutive years that he would guide the Avalanche to the Western Conference Final.
Hartley also coached the Atlanta Thrashers for parts of five seasons between 2002 and 2008, guiding the franchise to its only playoff appearance in 2007. He was also a panelist on RDS before taking the coaching job in Zurich.
"First I would like to thank Jay Feaster and the Calgary Flames for having the confidence to provide me with the opportunity to coach again in the NHL," said Hartley in a statement. "It's great to return to the League in a city, a community and an organization that has such an outstanding reputation and passion for hockey and success. I look forward to assuming my position and starting the preparation process for the 2012-13 season."
Hartley was also present at the Memorial Cup last week as a volunteer advisor to Shawinigan Cataractes head coach Eric Veilleux.
The new Calgary bench boss also announced on Thursday that he intends to bring in Jacques Cloutier as a member of his coaching staff. Cloutier, a former NHL goaltender, has coached alongside Hartley in Denver, Switzerland, and in the American Hockey League.
"Jacques will be following me," Hartley told CalgaryFlames.com. "He will be joining the Flames coaching staff."
The Flames finished 37-29-16 last season and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.