The Chicago Blackhawks fired longtime head coach Joel Quenneville on Tuesday. Jeremy Colliton was named Quenneville’s successor, becoming the 38th head coach in Blackhawks’ history. The team also named Barry Smith an assistant coach and relieved assistant coaches Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson of their duties.
Quenneville leaves Chicago as the second-winningest coach in franchise history, registering a 452-249-96 record in his ten years with the team. He compiled a 76-52 playoff record over that span, leading the Blackhawks to Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013, and 2015. Last season marked the first time the Blackhawks did not make the playoffs under Quenneville.
Considering his pedigree, Quenneville won’t be out of work long if he does want to find another coaching gig. The 60-year-old Windsor native is second all-time among coaches in wins (890) and games coached (1636).
In a statement released by the team, Blackhawks Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman explained the decision to part with Quenneville.
“This is certainly a very difficult decision. But I believe it is in the best interests of the Blackhawks organization. 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. Along with our appreciation for everything Joel has accomplished for our franchise, we also thank Kevin and Ulf for their many contributions and wish them success in the future.”
Colliton, 33, is now the youngest active head coach in the NHL. A former 2nd-round pick of the New York Islanders in 2003, Colliton played 57 games for the Isles between 2005 and 2011, playing predominantly in the AHL.
Colliton began coaching in 2014 with Mora IK of the SHL before signing to coach the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, ahead of the 2017-18 season. He led the team to a 40-28-4 record in 2017-18, logging 15 more wins than the team had the year before.
Colliton takes over a Blackhawks team that’s in the midst of a five-game losing streak. They currently sit 21st in the league with a 6-6-3 record. He will make his coaching debut when Chicago takes on the Hurricanes at home on Thursday.