Dale Hunter told Washington Capitals GM George McPhee during a meeting this morning that he will not be returning to the Caps next year as head coach. The decision comes shortly after the Capitals early exit from the NHL Playoffs.
According to the Washington Post:
“Dale and I met about 10 o’clock and he let me know that he will not be able to return as the coach,” McPhee said, speaking on breakdown day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “He’s going to head back to London [Ontario]. I guess we’re all fathers and sons and husbands first before anything else, and if we have our priorities right in this life, family comes first. And Dale needs to go home.”
“I thought he did a great job of coming in and helping us out,” McPhee said. “Trying to hire a coach in the middle of the season is a difficult process. …So to have Dale available to come in, even if on a temporary basis, was something we liked a lot. That’s why we did a one year deal, because we didn’t know if he could do it beyond this season.”
“I don’t know whether it will be by the draft or sometime in August, like New Jersey did,” he added. “We’re going to take our time and get the right person.”
Asked if he attempted to persuade Hunter to stay, McPhee said he did not.
“There’s no gray in Dale’s life,” he said. “He’s very decisive. The only thing I asked Dale was, ‘Does this have anything to do with anything that’s going on here?’ He said, ‘Absolutely not. He loved it here. This is his team.’”