The Coachella Valley Firebirds are bringing some Stanley Cup winning experience to coach its AHL hockey team, the team has announced on its website.

Dan Bylsma was hired as the head coach of the Coachella Valley Firebirds, the affiliate of the NHL Seattle Kraken, and will become the first coach in the new franchise’s history. He was the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won the Stanley Cup in 2009, and played for the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

“We’re excited to name Dan Bylsma the first head coach in Coachella Valley Firebirds history,” Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis said. “The head coach of our American Hockey League affiliate plays a critical role in developing future Kraken players. Dan worked with our prospects this past season in Charlotte and brings a wealth of NHL and AHL experience to our new AHL club. We look forward to Dan guiding our team.”

In addition to coaching the Penguins, Bylsma was an assistant coach for the Charlotte Checkers, home of the defending Calder Cup Champions, and was selected assistant coach by the Seattle Kraken August 2021.

“I am honored and excited to be joining the Coachella Valley Firebirds as the first coach in team history,” Bylsma said. “This is a unique opportunity to continue collaborating with the Seattle Kraken in building a championship organization from the desert floor up. I look forward to curating the product on the ice to be a proud representation of the people, spirit and passion that define the Coachella Valley.”

Bylsma coached in the NHL for eight years, six with the Penguins and two with the Buffalo Sabres. He was awarded the Jack Adams Award given to the league’s most outstanding coach in 2011 during his time with the Penguins. He coach the Sabres from 2015 to 2017.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dan Bylsma to the Firebirds family and look forward to his leadership in building a unified roster of players as well as creating a championship product on the ice,” Steve Fraser, president of Acrisure Arena and the Coachella Valley Firebirds, said. “We believe that Dan best represents the core values of the Seattle Kraken and the Coachella Valley Firebirds as well as the spirit of our community. We anticipate great things coming out of the Coachella Valley as we embark on our debut season under his leadership.”

Bylsma was appointed head coach of the United States Olympic Hockey Team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The Firebirds will play their inaugural season at Acrisure Arena which starts in December.

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