The AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds named Dan Bylsma as their first-ever head coach on Tuesday.
The Firebirds, the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken, will make their debut in the 2022-2023 season.
Bylsma last served as a head coach with the Buffalo Sabres from 2015-17. Prior to his time with the Sabres, Bylsma spent five-plus seasons behind the bench with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Joining the team midway through the 2008-09 season after the firing of Michel Therrien, the native of Grand Haven, Michigan led the Pens to the Stanley Cup. He would go on to win the 2011 Jack Adams Award with the team.
He spent last season as an assistant coach with the Charlotte Checkers, the joint affiliate of the Kraken and Florida Panthers.
“We’re excited to name Dan Bylsma the first head coach in Coachella Valley Firebirds history,” Kraken general manager Ron Francis said. “The head coach of our AHL 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.”
As a player, Bylsma appeared in 429 NHL games over nine seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to go in on the ground floor for Coachella Valley alongside the Kraken to establish a culture and mindset with a winning backdrop,” said Bylsma. “We’re going to be an expansion team in the American Hockey League with the Seattle way of doing things and developing players.”