The Chicago Blackhawks have fired coach Joel Quenneville, the winner of three Stanley Cups in Chicago.
The team also let go assistants Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson and named Jeremy Colliton head coach. He was in his second season as coach of the team’s AHL affiliate in Rockford.
“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,” owner Rocky 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.”
After a solid start to the season, Chicago has taken only one of a possible 10 points. The Blackhawks didn’t make the playoffs last season for the first time in a decade.
But Quenneville, who took over in Chicago in 2008, will always be associated with the greatest run in franchise history. The Blackhawks won Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015 under his direction.
Qunneville is the second winningest coach in NHL history, behind only Scotty Bowman.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman also expressed what a difficult decision the firing was but praised Colliton.
“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,” he said in the statement. “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.”
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