Not only have the Seattle Kraken hired Jay Leach as reported yesterday, but Paul McFarland will also be joining Dave Hakstol’s bench as an assistant coach for the expansion team. Both men were officially introduced today, and Hakstol released a short statement:
We’re very excited to add two talented hockey minds in Paul and Jay to our inaugural staff.
Paul’s work ethic and ability to communicate with players to give them the tools to be at their best, along with Jay’s leadership and ability to coach and develop NHL talent, will be great additions to our team.
Leach will be responsible for the team’s defense corps, while McFarland will focus on the forwards and powerplay. McFarland specifically has recent experience working alongside Hakstol, as both were assistants with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also has a history with the Florida Panthers and most recently served as the GM and head coach of the Kingston Frontenacs.
The staff that Seattle has built has some experience but is also filled with up-and-coming coaching prospects. McFarland is only 35, and has just three seasons at the NHL level, while Leach is 41 and will be entering his first opportunity in the NHL. The latter of course has some playing experience, having suited up for 70 NHL games, but they are joining a head coach in Hakstol that is also relatively new to professional ranks.
Because the OHL didn’t play last season, McFarland’s latest stint with the Frontenacs actually didn’t include coaching a single game. In the Kingston front office, he will be replaced as GM by Kory Cooper, who had served as assistant GM since September 2020.