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Francis denies player upset led to Kraken firing Hakstol

Dave Hakstol Ron Francis Kraken Dave Hakstol and Ron Francis - The Canadian Press

Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis says he never received an ultimatum from players to dismiss head coach Dave Hakstol.

Francis spoke to the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker following a report from ESPN's Emily Kaplan on Monday that stated several players made it clear that they wanted a coaching change.

Hakstol was fired on Tuesday after three seasons behind the bench.

“Zero players issued any ultimatums of any kind regarding the coach — that I can assure you,” Francis said. “That’s not what those meetings are really about. Usually, it’s us telling players what they have to do to prepare for next season, or how we thought they did this season. No one sits there asking them ‘What did you think of the coach?’ That’s not what these meetings are there for.”

Veteran Kraken forward Jordan Eberle also disputed the report.

“Talking to a lot of guys, I know we all had different opinions, but by no means did anyone have an ultimatum that if [Hakstol] was still there, then they wouldn’t play," Eberle said. "I mean, that was ridiculous to me. So, I think when I heard that obviously, I was pretty disappointed. That’s not how we as players or as an organization want to conduct ourselves."

A native of Drayton Valley, Alta., Hakstol finished his Kraken tenure with a record of 107-112-27. He led the expansion franchise to their first ever playoff appearance last season.