Dave King, former coach of the Calgary Flames and the Canadian national team, joined the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday as head coach.
"He is a highly regarded leader, teacher and coach and is respected as much as anyone associated with our game," said Doug MacLean, president and general manager of the team, which starts play this fall.
"I talked to numerous outstanding candidates for this job, but there is no doubt in my mind that Dave King is the right man to lead the Blue Jackets when we hit the ice this October."
King, 52, signed a three-year contract, but the franchise did not disclose the terms. The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday that the deal is worth $300,000 to $400,000 per year and the contract's total value is in the range of $1.3 million.
"I'm honored, excited and proud to be the first head coach in the history of the Columbus Blue Jackets," King said at a news conference where his selection was announced.
The expansion Columbus Blue Jackets named Dave King as the franchises first coach Wednesday. (CBS SportsLine)
King was one of three finalists for the job. The others were former Calgary coach Brian Sutter and Colorado Avalanche assistant Bryan Trottier.
King most recently was director of European pro scouting for the Montreal Canadiens. He coached the Flames from 1992-93 to 1994-95, winning Pacific Division titles in the last two of those seasons. But the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs all three years.
His regular-season record was 109-76-31 for a .576 winning percentage, and his teams were 8-12 in the playoffs.
King was in charge of the Canadian national team from 1983-92. The Flames hired him just after Canada won the silver medal at the 1992 Olympics.
The native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, also coached Canada to the gold medal at the 1982 world junior championships and won three conference championships and the 1983 Canadian national cllege title as coach of the University of Saskatchewan.
Columbus and the Minnesota Wild are the two teams joining the NHL this fall.
MacLean originally had hoped to hire a coach in March or April. But his timetable kept being pushed back because of the process of organizing the NHL team and its front office. Also, many potential coaching candidates couldn't be interviewed until their teams' seasons ended.
©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed