Flames sign head coach Bob Hartley to multi-year extension
Announcement comes despite 6-game losing streak
The Calgary Flames have locked up head coach Bob Hartley to a multi-year contract extension.
He has guided the NHL team to a 17-14-2 start this season. The Flames were tied for eighth in the Western Conference standings Wednesday with 36 points.
The Flames haven't made the playoffs in five seasons. Calgary flirted with the Pacific Division lead in November, but their current six-game losing streak knocked the Flames down the standings.
"This is not a short sample size," general manager Brad Treliving told reporters Wednesday at Scotiabank Saddledome. "You make decisions looking at large sample sizes.
"This should send a clear message to our dressing room that Bob is not only the coach for today, but moving forward."
Hartley's extension as finalized Wednesday morning, Treliving said.
'Biggest challenge of my career': Hartley
Hartley has led the Flames to a 71-79-13 mark since he was hired in May 2012.
"I said a couple of years ago I felt this was the biggest challenge of my career and I still believe it," Hartley said. "I love the direction that this organization has taken.
"Our job is to try to fast-forward our projection as quickly as possible so we can be a playoff team, we can win rounds and have a shot at the Stanley Cup."
He was hired by former general manager Jay Feaster before Brian Burke was named Calgary's president of hockey operations and also before Feaster's replacement, Treliving, took the GM post in April.
"I've been nothing but impressed with Bob, his work ethic, his energy level, the time he puts in to get this team to the place we all want to get it to," Treliving said. "There's a consistency to him that I admire."
Hartley's first season behind Calgary's bench was abbreviated because of the NHL lockout.
The 54-year-old from Hawksbury, Ont., has coached in several leagues over his career and was previously an NHL head coach with the Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers.
His extension will make him one of the longest-serving coaches in Calgary's history. Bob Johnson was with the team for five seasons from 1982-83 to 1986-87.
Calgary's announcement comes two days after their northern rivals, the Edmonton Oilers, fired head coach Dallas Eakins.