(Reuters) - The St. Louis Blues fired head coach Davis Payne after a slow start to the National Hockey League (NHL) season and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock, the team said on Sunday.
Payne, the first coaching casualty of the young season, was relieved of his duties after leading St. Louis to a 6-7 record that left them 13th in the 15-team Western Conference.
The Blues failed to make the playoffs since he took over as coach during the 2009-10 season.
Hitchcock, who was coach of the Dallas Stars when they won a Stanley Cup in 1999 and an assistant with Canada when they won gold medals at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics, agreed to a contract through the 2012-13 NHL season.
The 59-year-old last coached in the NHL for the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2009-10 season and has coached more than 1,000 games with Dallas, Philadelphia and Columbus.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford)