Hakstol, 46, resigned as the University of North Dakota's head coach Monday before accepting the Flyers' job. North Dakota later hired Brad Berry, an assistant on Hakstol's staff, as its new head coach.
The Flyers' hiring of Hakstol, who signed a multiyear deal, caught many by surprise.
"I wasn't going to choose the coach that was the people's choice, the popular choice," Flyers GM Ron Hextall said Monday at a news conference. "I was going to pick the coach that I felt like for this franchise from today, next year, moving forward was the right coach. Dave was the right coach for this franchise."
Hextall said he expected the players to adapt to the rookie coach.
"I think they'll figure out in a hurry here who's in charge," Hextall said.
Hakstol is one of the few coaches to graduate straight to the NHL bench from college. He joined "Badger" Bob Johnson and Ned Harkness as coaches to get their first NHL job straight out of college, according to College Hockey Inc.
"I believe in what we do and I believe in the things that I do, and I'm not going to change that," Hakstol said. "Do I need to alter the delivery of the message? Maybe a little bit. The fact that I do not have experience at this level, I'm not going to pretend that I do. But I do have an awful lot of confidence in terms of knowing the game well."
Hakstol had been North Dakota's coach for the past 11 seasons, during which he had a 289-143-43 record and led the school to the NCAA tournament in each season. Last season, the school was 29-10-3 and advanced to the Frozen Four for the seventh time during Hakstol's tenure.
He replacesCraig Berube, who was fired after two seasons. Philadelphia was 33-31-18 this season and missed the playoffs.
Hakstol's program had become a pipeline to the NHL with players such as Jonathan Toews (Chicago), Matt Greene (Los Angeles), T.J. Oshie (St. Louis) and Chris VandeVelde (Philadelphia) all developed out of the North Dakota system. Hakstol's program has produced 20 NHL players and 46 have played professionally at some level.
For all the big wins and bigger prospects, Hakstol could never win a championship, something that has given Philly four decades of agony.
"He's had a lot of success at the college level, (just) never found a way as a head coach to win a national championship," Toews said. "I think it's an opportunity he definitely earned, and I think he'll seize it and do well."
Ron Hextall's son, Brett, also played for Hakstol at North Dakota. Brett Hextall is currently playing for the Flyers' AHL affiliate.
Berry becomes the 16th head coach in North Dakota's history and the sixth former player to assume the role.
"We are excited to have Brad take leadership of the UND men's hockey program," athletic director Brian Faison said in a statement announcing the hire. "He is an effective recruiter, has an outstanding reputation as a teacher of the game, and brings a tremendous energy and passion to the position. His core values and his understanding of the unique culture that has made UND hockey so successful are the traits that make him the right coach to carry the program forward."
Berry, who coached North Dakota's defensemen, completed his ninth season as an assistant at the school in 2014-15.
"I'm very humbled and honored to be the next head coach at the University of North Dakota," Berry said in the statement. "Men like Dave Hakstol, Dean Blais and Gino Gasparini have put that foundation in place for the program to be as successful as it has been. Myself, as well as Coach [Dane] Jackson and the rest of our staff, plan on carrying that torch to keep the program at the highest level."
Berry scored 74 points as a defenseman playing for Gasparini at North Dakota (1983-86) and was selected by the Jets in the second round of the 1986 draft, playing in 241 NHL games during his career.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Flyers go outside the box with Dave Hakstol hire
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