The Calgary Flames signed head coach Bob Hartley to a multi-year contract extension on Wednesday.
Despite the team’s recent struggles, GM Brad Treliving believes Hartley is the right man to drive the ship.
“Anybody can swim in the lake when the water is calm,” said Treliving. “It takes leadership, it takes perseverance when the water is choppy to see who can steer the boat here. I know we’ve got the right guy steering the boat.
“I always feel you learn more about people in tough times. Anybody can accept the bouquets, it’s when things are difficult, that, to me, are when you get the real, true colours. And Bob has approached it no different than he’s approached it 10 games ago, 15 games ago or 30 (games ago), that he’s getting to work.
“There’s a consistency to him. We’re rising and falling with the ebbs and flows of this. There’s a consistency to him, which I admire.”
The Flames are in the middle of a six-game losing skid; however, Hartley has led Calgary to a 71-79-13 since joining the team three seasons ago.
“I’m coaching hockey because it’s my passion, it’s what I like the most,” said Hartley. “I wanted to be here, I’m a coach, but I wear the ‘Flaming C’ with lots of pride. There was not a second, not a minute that I didn’t want to continue what we started. It was not the term and it was not about money, it was about getting the opportunity to keep growing in this organization, to keep working with the players we have.”
Hartley has led the Flames to a surprising 17-14-2 record this season.
The 54-year-old’s contract was set to expire at the conclusion of this season.
“We knew that we had to go through a rebuild, and that was a situation that I took to heart,” Hartley said. “I knew that it was the right thing to do. Yes, there was lots of work to be done, but it’s a challenge, but nothing comes easy. Winning at this level is far from being easy, but it’s certainly lots of fun. Brad told me a little while ago that ‘I certainly enjoy working with you and I want to keep this going’ and I told him exactly the same.
“We know that we’re moving the right direction. Our job is to try to fast-forward our progression as quickly as possible so that we can be a playoff team, we can win rounds, we have a shot at the Stanley Cup.”
The Flames get back to action Friday when they play host to the Dallas Stars.