Joel Quenneville Out With Blackhawks. IceHogs Colliton Will Replace Him.
The Chicago Blackhawks dropped a bomb on Twitter this morning when they announced this move.
After missing the playoffs last season and guiding the Blackhawks to a .500 record in the early part of this season, including a current 5 game losing streak, Joel Quenneville is no longer the Blackhawks head coach.
In his place the Blackhawks have announced that current IceHogs coach Jeremy Colliton will become the next head coach.
Here is the press release sent out by the franchise this morning:
The Chicago Blackhawks have relieved Joel Quenneville of his coaching duties and have named Jeremy Colliton the 38th head coach in franchise history. In addition, the Blackhawks have named Barry Smith an assistant coach on Colliton's staff. The Blackhawks have also parted ways with Assistant Coaches Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson. The rest of the Blackhawks coaching staff will remain with the team.
Jeremy Colliton, 33, becomes the youngest head coach currently in the NHL. He was 12 games into his second season with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League and led the IceHogs to a record of 40-28-4-4 in 2017-18. Rockford made it to their first-ever 2018 AHL Western Conference Finals after sweeping Chicago in the Division Semifinals and sweeping Manitoba in the Division Finals before losing to Texas, four-games-to-two. Colliton was named IceHogs head coach on May 18, 2017-his first coaching job in North America.
Prior to joining the Blackhawks organization, Colliton spent four seasons as the head coach of Mora IK in Sweden (HockeyAllsvenskan). A native of Blackie, Alberta, Colliton guided his team to a league-best 35-13-4 record and 105 points during the 2016-17 season. Following the regular season, he led Mora IK to promotion to the Swedish Hockey League for the 2017-18 season after defeating Leksands IF in six games (4-2) of the best-of-seven series. Colliton joined the coaching ranks with Mora IK in an interim head coaching role during the 2013-14 season before taking over full-time the following season. In four seasons with Colliton behind the bench, Mora IK posted a 98-57-18 record.
Prior to becoming a coach, Colliton had an eight-year professional career primarily in the NHL and AHL. He appeared in 57 NHL games across five seasons (2005-09, 2010-11) with the New York Islanders, notching three goals and three assists. He was originally drafted by the Islanders in the second round (58thoverall) of the 2003 NHL Draft.
He spent parts of six seasons (2005-09, 2010-12) in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, recording 203 points (77G, 126A) in 326 career games. Additionally, he had stints with Rogle Angelholm (2009-10) in the Swedish Elite League and Mora IK (2013-14). He also had experience on the international stage, earning gold and silver medals while representing Canada at the 2005 and 2004 IIHF World U20 Junior Championships, respectively. Colliton and his wife, Jen, have two sons, Ben and Jack, and a daughter, Olivia.
Barry Smith, 66, is in his ninth season as a member of the Blackhawks Hockey Operations staff and joins Colliton's coaching staff as assistant coach. He served as Director of Player Evaluation for the last three seasons with Chicago. He has previously served as an assistant coach in the NHL with Arizona (2005 - 07), was an Associate Coach on Scotty Bowman's staff with Detroit from 1994 - 2005 and served as an assistant coach with Pittsburgh from 1990 - 94. Smith has been a part of seven Stanley Cup championships including two with the Blackhawks (2013 and 2015).
Joel Quenneville departs as the second-winningest head coach in Blackhawks history, registering a record of 452-249-96 in 797 games since 2008. He owns the best playoff record in Blackhawks history, compiling a record of 76-52 including three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013 and 2015). His Blackhawks teams made the playoffs in nine of ten seasons and he stood as the longest tenured head coach in the NHL, having been officially hired by Chicago on October 16, 2008. He is the second-winningest coach in NHL history with an all-time record of 890-532-214. He coached 1,636 career games, first among active NHL coaches and second all-time. Prior to joining the Blackhawks, he served as head coach for the Colorado Avalanche (2005 - 08) and St. Louis Blues (1996 - 2004).
Kevin Dineen joined the Blackhawks coaching staff prior to the 2014-15 season and was in his fifth season with Chicago. He was a member of the Blackhawks 2015 Stanley Cup championship team in 2015. Ulf Samuelsson joined the Blackhawks coaching staff prior to the 2017-18 season and was in his second season with Chicago.
The most interesting part about all this is the timing. I don't think people would have been shocked if the Blackhawks had decided to part ways during the offseason, but to do it midseason to a coach that brought you 3 titles is pretty shocking.
This is a huge opportunity for Colliton. The 33 (33!) year old is very familiar with a bunch of the young players on the team having coached them in Rockford.
Quenneville didn't seem all that interested in rebuilding a team with a young core of players, but a midseason firing just seems a bit out of place for one of the greatest NHL coaches of all time.