Chicago Blackhawks Part Ways with Joel Quenneville

Jack Breitowich, Maroon-News Staff

After three Stanley Cup championships, two conference finals, a Presidents Trophy and 797 wins, the Chicago Blackhawks fired the second winningest head coach in NHL history, Joel Quenneville. After losing in the first round of the playoffs in 2016 and 2017 and missing the playoffs in 2018, the Blackhawks felt it was time for a change and parted ways with the future hall-of-famer.

Fans were outraged when the news broke on November 6 about the Blackhawks’ decision to relieve Quenneville of his duties. Many took to social media to express their frustration toward General Manager Stan Bowman, as well as their gratitude for Quenneville. Shirts have even been made by fans saying “Thank Q” and “Fire Bowman” to express their frustration.

With the Quenneville era in the past, Jeremy Colliton has taken over as the 38th head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks. Colliton plans on bringing the Blackhawks back to their former glory. However, in his first two games as head coach, the Blackhawks lost 4-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes on November 8 and 4-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers on November 10. Blackhawks fans are questioning if Colliton has what it takes to be a successful NHL head coach, seeing as he is a 33-year-old rookie coach coming from the Rockford Icehogs of the AHL (the Blackhawks’ minor league affiliate).

To his advantage, though, Colliton has experience with many of the young players on the Blackhawks, since he had the chance to coach them during his time in Rockford. Colliton even grew up playing with Black- hawks veteran defenseman Brent Seabrook when they were 11-years-old. With forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and defensemen Seabrook and Duncan Keith as core members remaining on the Blackhawks, along with Corey Crawford in net, Colliton believes he has what it takes to get Chicago back in the playoffs this season. However, aside from the success of these veterans, the success of the younger players such as for- wards Brandon Saad, Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz is also crucial.

“The coach can only do so much, it’s the players who now need to step up,” NHL analyst Eddie Olczyk said.

My advice to uneasy Blackhawks fans is to be patient. It takes time for a head coach to implement his systems to a new team. In Toews and Kane, the Blackhawks have arguably the best captain in the NHL and one of the most lethal shooters in the league, respectively. On top of that, they have a goal-tender, Crawford, who is eager to get back to his prime after being injured for over half of last season.

Additionally, young players like DeBrincat, who is off to a hot start this season, should give Blackhawk fans some hope. The Blackhawks are hoping to find a way to get back to the championship-caliber team fans have been used to since 2009.

Although parting ways with the beloved Coach Q was heartbreaking, the team must go on and remain focused on the season at hand.

“That is professional sports for you, it’s nothing personal,” Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer for the Blackhawks Pat Foley said.

On behalf of Blackhawks fans, thank you Q. Thank you not only for everything you have done for the Blackhawks hockey organization, but also for the city of Chicago.

Contact Jack Breitowich at [email protected].