The Blackhawks unceremoniously fired Joel Quenneville, the most successful coach in franchise history, on Tuesday morning. He had one season remaining on his contract beyond the current one.
Quenneville will be replaced by Rockford IceHogs coach Jeremy Colliton, who led Rockford to its first-ever AHL Western Conference Finals appearance last season.
Along with Quenneville, assistant coaches Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson also got the ax. Barry Smith, who most recently served as the director of player evaluation for the Hawks, was promoted to assistant coach.
General manager Stan Bowman, team president John McDonough and chairman Rocky Wirtz parroted one another, calling the decision “difficult.”
And while the front office believes the move was in the “best interests of the Blackhawks organization” moving forward, the stunning news sent a shockwave through the Hawks’ community.
“Quenneville deserves better,” former Hawks forward Daniel Carcillo tweeted. “A man’s man.”
Carcillo blamed McDonough, Bowman and senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIssac for Quenneville’s exit and called the move a “desperate attempt to save jobs.”
“There has always been tension between Joel and [McDonough, Bowman and MacIsaac],” Carcillo wrote. He also aggressively criticized the team in a radio appearance on 670 The Score.
For the most part, Quenneville, who was known as a “players’ coach,” was well-liked by his teams.
Here’s how other members of the NHL community reacted to the Quenneville news:
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