Flames, coach Hartley agree to contract extension

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley reached an agreement with the team on a multiyear contract extension on Wednesday, a clear signal he and new general manager Brad Treliving can work together.

The deal, made in Hartley's third season, could make him one of the longest-serving head coaches in Flames history. Bob Johnson was behind Calgary's bench for five seasons from 1982-83 to 1986-87.

Hartley was hired by former general manager Jay Feaster, who was fired Dec. 12, 2012. Calgary's president of hockey operations Brian Burke served as interim GM until appointing Treliving as his replacement in April.

''I look at it a bit like a marriage,'' Treliving said Wednesday. ''You go through a dating period and you're just trying to find out about one another and how things are done and sort of the DNA of the person and how they work and operate.

''I've been nothing but impressed with Bob, his work ethic, his energy level, the time he puts in to get this team to the place we all want to get it to. There's a consistency to him that I admire.''

Calgary hasn't made the playoffs in five seasons. Hartley has guided the team to a 17-14-2 start this season and a 71-79-13 record since he was named coach on May 31, 2012.

The new deal was announced on Wednesday, despite the fact the Flames are mired in a six-game skid. Calgary sustained a 5-2 home loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.

Hartley has coached in several leagues during his career and was previously an NHL head coach with the Colorado Avalanche and the former Atlanta Thrashers.

His first season with Calgary was abbreviated because of the NHL lockout in 2012-13.

The Flames were near the top of the Pacific Division in November, but their current skid knocked them down to eighth place in the Western Conference.

''I firmly believe in the bigger picture,'' Treliving said. ''Anybody can swim in the lake when the water is calm. It takes leadership, it takes perseverance when the water gets choppy to see who can steer the boat here. I know we've got the right guy steering the boat.

''This should send a clear message to our dressing room that Bob is not only the coach for today, but moving forward.''

Hartley has managed to win over Burke and Treliving.

''Brian, Brad, those guys were unbelievable to me because they showed me support from the first minute,'' Hartley said. ''I said a couple of years ago I felt this was the biggest challenge of my career, and I still believe it.

''I love the direction that this organization has taken. We know that we're moving in the right direction. Our job is to try to fast-forward our progression as quickly as possible so we can be a playoff team, we can win rounds and have a shot at the Stanley Cup.''

Treliving said Hartley's extension was finalized Wednesday. Terms weren't released.

''Because it was during the season, I didn't want this to be a distraction,'' Hartley said. ''I'm a person who believes in doing business the right way.''

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.