Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville

Brad Rempel/USA Today Sports

Blackhawks Fire Joel Quenneville

Chicago has named Jeremy Colliton its 38th head coach in franchise history.

November 06, 2018 - 8:13 am
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(670 The Score) The Blackhawks have fired coach Joel Quenneville, they announced Tuesday morning.

The bold decision comes amid a five-game losing streak for the team and one season after Chicago missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. In his place, the Blackhawks have promoted AHL Rockford coach Jeremy Colliton to become the 38th head coach in franchise history.

Quenneville, 60, leaves as the second-winningest coach in franchise history, leading the Blackhawks to a 452-249-96 mark (.627 winning percentage) since he took over on Oct. 16, 2008. He led the organization to its greatest heights with three championships in six seasons, as the Blackhawks captured the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Chicago made the playoffs in nine of the 10 full seasons that he was in charge. Quenneville had been the longest-tenured coach in the league.

Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz gave his "full support" to the front office's decision to fire Quenneville.

"As Chicago Blackhawks fans have seen over the last decade, this organization no longer shies away from making tough decisions or ones based on emotion," Wirtz said in a statement. "Those days are long behind us. Of course, Joel’s was difficult, as it should have been. During his tenure as head coach to the Chicago Blackhawks, Joel brought the city of Chicago and our fans three Stanley Cups and an incredible era of hockey.

"When Joel was originally hired into our 2008 season, we had great hope for his potential to take the team to new levels. He went beyond what anyone expected. As difficult as that decision in 2008 was, this one was tougher. But as we look to a future history not yet defined, we believe the change we made today will provide the Chicago Blackhawks a critical element in achieving our goals of championships in the future, including this season.  

"I wish Joel and his family well and thank him for his incredible leadership and results. Nothing will ever take away the success he brought our franchise, our fans and my family. Joel will forever be etched into the most memorable era in Chicago Blackhawk hockey. And for that, we will always be connected and always eternally grateful."

General manager Stan Bowman called firing Quenneville "a very difficult decision."

"I believe it is in the best interests of the Blackhawks organization," Bowman said in a 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."

The 33-year-old Colliton becomes the youngest head coach currently in the NHL. Barry Smith, 66, will join him as one of his assistants after previously serving on the team's hockey operations staff.

Colliton was named the Icehogs' coach on May 18, 2017, which marked his first coaching job in North America after he previously was a head coach of Mora IK in Sweden. He led Rockford to a 40-28-4-4 record and its first trip to the Western Conference Finals.

"We are extremely fortunate to have Jeremy Colliton in the Blackhawks organization and feel strongly that he is best positioned to continue leading our players here in Chicago," Bowman said. "All of those associated with Jeremy strongly believe he possesses many of the tools that will make him a successful head coach in this league. He has been very impressive as a communicator, a leader, and coach. He knows the Blackhawks system, understands our players and our culture and we believe he gives us the best opportunity to have success and grow as a team."

The Blackhawks also let go of assistant coaches Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson. The rest of the Blackhawks' staff will remain in place.

Dineen has been on the Blackhawks' staff since the 2014-'15 season, while Samuelsson had joined the staff ahead of the 2017-'18 campaign.

The Blackhawks are 6-6-3 with 15 points, which has them in sixth place in the Central Division, a season after they finished last in the division and were 19 points from the second wild-card spot.

On Tuesday, the failures caught up with Quenneville, who's the second-winningest coach in NHL history with 890 victories.

"His leadership during three Stanley Cup championships speaks for itself and there is no way to adequately express what he has meant to this organization," Blackhawks president John McDonough said in a statement. "He will always be a significant member of the Blackhawks family. We have a deep appreciation for how he helped establish our standard and the Blackhawks culture and certainly wish he, Kevin and Ulf only the best in their future."