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Flames fire head coach Darryl Sutter

Two weeks after general manager Brad Treliving walked away from the NHL club, the Calgary Flames announced this morning they have fired head coach Darryl Sutter.



And then there were none.

Two weeks after general manager Brad Treliving walked away from the NHL club, the Calgary Flames announced this morning they have fired head coach Darryl Sutter.

The futures of both Treliving and Sutter had been hotly debated over the 2022-23 season when the team that had finished atop the Pacific Division a year before failed to improve upon or even replicate that success.

It resulted in the team that many felt was a Stanley Cup contender missing the NHL post-season altogether, followed by suggestions out of the locker room (which had been rumbling over the last half of the season) that some key players were unhappy with Sutter’s coaching style.

Then came news of Treliving’s departure on April 17, when the Flames’ brain trust admitted he had turned down a contract extension earlier in the campaign.

Complicating matters in the wake of the season was Sutter’s own contract extension — worth a reported $8 million — which he signed in October and which was due to begin next season.

Don Maloney, now president of hockey operations, has begun a post-mortem of what went wrong for the Flames.

It was the 64-year-old Sutter’s second tour of duty with the Flames, his first coming 20 years prior initially as head coach and then as GM. As bench boss, he guided the Jarome Iginla-led Flames to the 2004 Stanley Cup final. He added the GM role following the 2004-05 lockout and, after the bonafide contending team exited the 2006 playoffs in a first-round loss to the Anaheim Ducks, he stepped aside to concentrate on GM duties, installing first Jim Playfair as head coach then turning to Mike Keenan and finally his brother Brent as bench bosses before Sutter stepped down from the manager’s chair in December 2010 in favour of Jay Feaster.

A year later, Sutter returned to the NHL coaching ranks with the Los Angeles Kings and subsequently led them to two Stanley Cup titles in 2012 and 2014. He held the post until the end of the 2016-17 campaign, when the Kings fired him after the team missed the post-season.

The Viking, Alta., native joined the Flames for the second time in March 2021, replacing Geoff Ward as head coach. A year later, the Flames finished with a 50-21-11 record, good for first in the Pacific and sixth overall in the league, bowing out of the playoffs in the second round to the Edmonton Oilers.

Sutter is one of six brothers who played in the NHL, three of whom went on to coach as well. He played his entire career with the Chicago Blackhawks, who drafted him in the 11th round of the 1978 Entry Draft, skating from 1979-87 and joining the coaching ranks with Chicago following retirement. He served as Blackhawks head coach from 1992-95 then as bench boss for the San Jose Sharks from the start of the 1997-98 season to Dec. 1, 2002, until joining the Flames four weeks later.