It’s the end of an era with the Blackhawks, as coach Joel Quenneville was fired by the club on Tuesday morning as the team announced a flurry of staffing changes. Coach Q had been behind the bench with the Hawks since 2008, making him the longest-tenured coach in the NHL. He’ll be replaced by Jeremy Colliton, who becomes the 38th coach in Blackhawks franchise history.
“This is certainly a very difficult decision. But I believe it is in the best interests of the Blackhawks organization,” said Hawks general manager Stan Bowman in a written statement. “We need to maximize each and every opportunity with our playoff goals in mind and create continued growth and development throughout our roster at the same time.After much deliberation the last several days, with great respect to what Joel has meant to the Blackhawks, we knew we had to make a change.”
In addition to Quenneville’s firing, the club also parted ways with assistant coaches Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson, and brought in Barry Smith to serve as an assistant coach under Colliton.The 33-year-old Colliton will leave his post as coach of the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs and become the youngest head coach in the NHL. He last played in the NHL in 2011 for the New York Islanders.Quenneville, 60, led the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cups titles in a six-year span, leading many to dub the team as a modern day dynasty. However, they haven’t won a playoff series since their 2015 championship run, and they missed the playoffs completely last season for the first time under Coach Q’s reign. After finishing last season seventh in the Central division, the Blackhawks have gotten off to a mediocre start to this year’s campaign. Through their first 15 games under Quenneville, they went 6-6-3 and have been the third-worst defensive team in the league.Quenneville departs as the second-winningest coach in Blackhawks history with a franchise record of 452-249-96 in 797 games. He also is the second-winningest coach in NHL history with an all-time record of 890-532-214, and he likely won’t be out of a job long.