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Blue Jackets sign head coach Richards to an extension

(Reuters) - The Columbus Blue Jackets kept faith with their head coach Todd Richards on Friday, giving him a one-year contract extension through the 2014-15 National Hockey League season.

Richards, 46, has led the Blue Jackets to a 42-38-9 record in 99 games, including a 24-17-7 mark and a franchise-best .573 winning percentage in the 2012-13 season.

The club tied for eighth in the Western Conference last season with 55 points, ending their campaign on an impressive 19-5-5 run.

"We believe Todd is one of the top young coaches in our game and he has had a steadying influence on our team since taking over as head coach in January 2012," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement.

"The hard work put in by Todd and our coaching staff has been a big reason for our team's improved play and we are excited that he will continue to serve as our head coach."

Richards compiled a 77-71-17 record in two seasons as head coach of the Minnesota Wild before being appointed head coach of the Blue Jackets on a two-year deal in May 2012.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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