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Calgary Hitmen hire Paul McFarland as their new head coach

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
20 days ago
A pretty news-filled week continues in the Calgary sports world, as the Calgary Hitmen unveiled Paul McFarland as their new head coach on Thursday.
The story was first reported by Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek.
McFarland becomes the 11th permanent head coach in Hitmen history. He replaces Steve Hamilton, who departed the organization after six years at the end of the 2023-24 season.
The 38-year-old McFarland joins the Hitmen with a really impressive resume in hand. He’s spent six seasons in the NHL as an assistant coach, with stops in Seattle (2021-23), Toronto (2019-20) and Florida (2017-19). He’s also spent six years in the Ontario Hockey League, with four seasons as head coach in Kingston (2020-21 and 2014-17) and two seasons as an assistant in Oshawa (2012-14). He’s also coached twice for Hockey Canada, serving as an assistant coach at the Under-17 Hockey Challenge in 2015-16 and head coach at the Hlinkas in 2016-17.
Prior to coaching, McFarland put together a pretty good amateur playing career, too. He spent four seasons in the OHL split between Kitchener and Windsor, then played four seasons in USports at Acadia. He served as captain for a season in Windsor and three seasons at Acadia.
McFarland arrives in Calgary at a really interesting time. The Hitmen are expected to have at least one first-round pick at the 2024 NHL Draft, blueliner Carter Yakemchuk, but could have another, as forward Carson Wetsch should go fairly early, too. They’re also going to have Calgary Flames prospect Axel Hurtig on their roster, as he was selected by the Hitmen in the 2023 Import Draft but is coming over for the 2024-25 season.
The Hitmen have arguably underachieved over the past few seasons, finding ways to lose games at key times rather than elevate their game. It’ll be fascinating to see what McFarland does to help the team’s up-and-comers progress, especially with the Hitmen migrating to the new arena when it opens in 2027.
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