Robert "Bob" Hartley (Born September 9, 1960 in Hawkesbury, Ontario, Canada) is a former Canadian head coach in the National Hockey League. He coached the Colorado Avalanche from 1998–2002, period during which he won the Stanley Cup (2000–2001). He also coached the Atlanta Thrashers from the 2003 up until the beginning of the 2007, when he was fired after the Thrashers got off to an 0-6 start. Hartley is now enjoying a successful media career as a hockey analyst for the french-language RDS television channel.

Hartley and his wife, Micheline, have one daughter, Kristine and one son, Steve.

Despite his anglophone-sounding name, Hartley is a Franco-Ontarian. French is his first language; his English has a marked French accent.

Early yearsEdit

Bob Hartley never played a game in the National Hockey League, instead beginning his coaching career with a junior A team in his hometown of Hawkesbury. After guiding the team to a championship, his accolades caught the eye of the Laval Titan of the QMJHL. While Hartley was coaching the junior A Hawkesbury Hawks, he worked full time as an assembly line worker at PPG Industries in Hawkesbury.[1]

Coaching careerEdit

Laval TitanEdit

Hartley's tenure as the Laval Titan head coach was marked with success. He recorded an 81-52-7 record in two seasons with the team. In his second season as the team's head coach, he guided the team to a Memorial Cup participation in 1993.

American Hockey LeagueEdit

Hartley was hired as an assistant coach of the American Hockey League's Cornwall Aces under Jacques Martin. When Martin was appointed assistant coach of the parent Quebec Nordiques, Hartley was promoted to head coach and guided the Aces to two division titles during the team's three year history. When the relocated Nordiques, now known as the Colorado Avalanche, became affiliated with the Hershey Bears, Hartley followed the team and was named head coach of the Bears. Hartley's tenure with the Bears was a success as he guided the team to four consecutive playoff appearances and a Calder Cup title in 1997, adding yet another accolade to his coaching career.

Colorado AvalancheEdit

Hartley's success with the Bears caught the eye of then-Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix, who was looking for a replacement for Marc Crawford who was fired by the team following a first round playoff exit. Hartley was hired as the team's second head coach since the relocation to Denver on June 2, 1998. In his first season with the Avs, the team got off to a 2-1-6 start, the mediocre start prompted skeptics to question the hiring. When the team caught fire in mid-December, they won their first Northwest Division title and fifth straight overall. During the 1999 Stanley Cup playoffs, the team defeated the San Jose Sharks in the first round and halted the Detroit Red Wings quest for a three-peat before bowing to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Dallas Stars in the Western Finals. Hartley's second season saw the team win their sixth consecutive division title along with playoff victories over the Phoenix Coyotes and a rematch with the Red Wings before bowing to the defending champion Dallas Stars in the Western Final for the second consecutive year. Hartley's third season was ultimately his most successful one. Motivated by Ray Bourque's desire to win a Stanley Cup championship, the Avs coasted through the league with a 52-16-10-4 record, a seventh consecutive division title along with the President's Trophy. The playoffs began with a first round sweep of the eighth seed Vancouver Canucks before enduring a seven game scare by the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Semi-Finals before cakewalking past the St. Louis Blues in five games, setting up a Stanley Cup Finals matchup with the Eastern Conference's #1 seed New Jersey Devils. After falling behind three games to two in the series, the Avs rallied back to win the Stanley Cup championship, accomplishing Bourque's goal, and making it the second straight year that defending champions had lost in the finals, as the Devils themselves beat the 1999 champion Dallas Stars the year before.

Another notable milestone from the 2000–01 NHL season for Hartley included coaching the North American All-Star team to a 14-11 victory on home ice. Hartley brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Hawkesbury, bringing the trophy to the PPG Industries plant he worked at. The following season, the team won their eighth consecutive division title and looked sharp in their quest for a second consecutive Stanley Cup. At the start of the playoffs, Hartley became the first head coach since Billy Reay to guide his teams to four consecutive conference final appearances. After two grueling playoff series victories over the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, in a repeat of the 1997 Western Finals, the team bowed to the arch rival Detroit Red Wings who would go on to become the eventual Stanley Cup champions. Hartley's tenure with the Avalanche ended on December 17, 2002, when the team endured a 10-8-9-4 start and was replaced by assistant coach Tony Granato. Hartley left the Avalanche franchise with a 193-109-48 regular season record and a 49-31 playoff record. His 193 wins are a franchise record. He became the only coach in team history to record 40 or more wins during his first four seasons as head coach. [2]

Atlanta ThrashersEdit

One month after being fired by the Avalanche, Hartley was appointed as the second full-time head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers, who were looking for a replacement after original coach Curt Fraser was fired following an 8-20-4-1 start on January 15, 2003. Hartley immediately went to work on the team's fortunes. The team went 20-14-5-1 down the stretch and were in the playoff race for the second half of the season, giving hope to Thrasher fans. Hartley's first full season behind the Atlanta bench began with tragedy following the death of Dan Snyder and loss of Dany Heatley for the majority of the season. The team overcame the adversity and set new franchise records for wins and points in a single season with a 33-37-8-4 record. Under Hartley's guidance, rising star Ilya Kovalchuk became a tri-winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy. Following the lockout, the Thrashers endured yet another slow start and multiple injuries at the goaltending position. After original goalies Kari Lehtonen and Mike Dunham were injured, Hartley was forced to use prospects Adam Berkhoel and Michael Garnett along with journeyman Steve Shields, the Thrashers posted the first winning season in franchise history with a 41-33-8 record, but fell short for a playoff appearance after losing out to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the final week of the regular season by two points. The 2006–07 NHL season was one of many accomplishments for the young Thrashers under Hartley's guidance. The team won their first Southeast Division title, setting new franchise records for wins and points with a 43-28-11 record, good enough for 97 points and third seed in the Eastern Conference. The team also clinched its first playoff berth in franchise history and played the New York Rangers in the first round. As of April 16, 2007, Hartley is the all-time winningest coach in franchise history.[3] On October 17, 2007, Hartley was fired and was temporarily replaced by Don Waddell, the current general manager. Hartley was under fire because the team had yet to register a point in six regular season games, and was league worst in goals, and 27th in the league in goals against.[1]

Coaching recordEdit

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish W L Win % Result
COL 1998–99 82 44 19 19 - 107 1st in Northwest 11 8 .578 Conference Finalist
COL 1999–00 82 42 19 20 1 105 1st in Northwest 11 6 .647 Conference Finalist
COL 2000–01 82 52 16 10 4 118 1st in Northwest 16 7 .695 Won Stanley Cup
COL 2001–02 82 45 19 15 2 108 1st in Northwest 11 10 .523 Conference Finalist
COL 2002–03 31 10 8 9 4 (105) 1st in Northwest - - - Fired after 31 games
ATL 2002–03 40 19 14 5 1 46 3rd in Southeast - - - Missed playoffs
ATL 2003–04 82 33 37 8 4 78 2nd in Southeast - - - Missed playoffs
ATL 2005–06 82 41 33 - 8 90 3rd in Southeast - - - Missed playoffs
ATL 2006–07 82 43 28 - 11 97 1st in Southeast 0 4 .667 Conference Quarterfinalist
ATL 2007–08 6 0 6 - 0 (76) 5th in Southeast - - - Fired after six games
Total 651 329 226 61 34 .581 49 35 .559


  • Calder Cup - 1997 Hershey Bears
  • Stanley Cup - 2001 Colorado Avalanche
  • Northwest Division Title - 1999–2002 Colorado Avalanche
  • Southeast Division Title - 2007 Atlanta Thrashers

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