One of the most successful coaching eras in NHL history came to an end Tuesday when the Chicago Blackhawks fired head coach Joel Quenneville.
The longtime head coach and his entire staff were let go by the Blackhawks, who named Jeremy Colliton the interim coach after Chicago’s 6-6-3 start to the new season.
The Blackhawks hired Quenneville prior to the 2008 season and have had immense success in his 10 years behind the bench. Quenneville guided the Hawks to three Stanley Cup championships while reaching the playoffs in his first eight seasons.
Strapped by restraints that come with having success in a salary cap league, Chicago’s play has fallen off since its 2015 Cup Final win. The Blackhawks were eliminated in the first round in both 2016 and 2017 before completely missing the playoffs last season.
Apparently, the Blackhawks’ sluggish start was enough for the Chicago brass to decide enough was enough.
“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,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement.
“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.”
It’s certainly a dramatic change, too. The 60-year-old Quenneville will be replaced by Colliton, who is just 33 years old, making him the youngest head coach in NHL history. Colliton played 57 career games in the NHL, the last coming during the 2010-11 season. He then spent a season in the AHL, and his last playing experience came just a few years ago when he appeared in three games in Sweden. The hiring is a promotion for Colliton who had been serving as the head coach of the Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate.