LOS ANGELES—The Kings’ former assistant and associate head coach, John Stevens, has been named the team’s new Head Coach, replacing Darryl Sutter.
Sutter served as the Kings’ Head Coach from December 22, 2011 until his dismissal on April 10, 2017 after the team failed to make the playoffs two out of three seasons (in 2015 and 2017) since winning the Stanley Cup in 2014. The team was eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2016 playoffs.
Stevens, 50, who has been a part of the organization for seven seasons, is the Kings’ 27th official Head Coach in history. Red Kelly was the first, serving from June 8, 1967 to June 3, 1969. He took on the role for four games during the 2011-2012 season on December 13, December 15, December 17, and December 19 after Head Coach Terry Murray departed on December 10, 2011 and before Darryl Sutter was sworn in on December 22, 2011. The Kings cultivated a 2-2-0 record.
A native of Campbellton, New Brunswick and former defenseman, Stevens was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. He pursued a junior career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Oshawa Generals. He would then go on to play in the American Hockey League (AHL) for the Hershey Bears.
During his AHL career, Stevens was called to play in 53 regular season NHL games (beginning in 1986) with the Flyers and Hartford Whalers, with whom he signed in 1990. He played a total of 834 games in the AHL and won three Calder Cups with the Bears (1988), Indians (1991), and Philadelphia Phantoms (1998), the latter two of which he was the team captain.
Stevens retired from his playing career in 1999 after sustaining an eye injury. He began his coaching career that year with the Phantoms as an Assistant Coach before becoming the Head Coach in 2000 (replacing Bill Barber who would go on to coach the Flyers). In 2005, he led the team a Calder Cup win. That year, Kings’ center Jeff Carter and former center Mike Richards played for the Phantoms.
Prior to the Kings, he served as the Head Coach of the Flyers from 2006 to 2009. In addition to cultivating a 120-109-34 record in 263 games, he led them to the 2008 Eastern Conference Final where they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
General Manager and Vice President Rob Blake announced Stevens’ new role with the Kings on Sunday in a press release:
“John and I had very productive dialogue this last week in relation to his head coaching philosophy and specifically how he would implement a strategy to activate our players offensively while maintaining the defensive philosophies we have come to be known for. I am confident that we are both in agreement on how that can be executed. With that said, we believe John has the ideal qualities to lead our hockey club. His wide array of coaching experience, including success as an NHL head coach and his inherent knowledge of our players and those in our development system, is very appealing to us. We are confident he is the best person to lead our hockey club forward.”
A news conference is scheduled to take place in the Chick Hearn Press Room at the Staples Center on Monday at 1:30 p.m. to formally introduce Stevens. It will be broadcasted live at LAKings.com.