Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks: A Thank You Letter to Recently Fired Joel Quenneville

By Samuel Boland
CHICAGO - JUNE 09: Chicago Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville and Patrick Kane #88 celebrate after Kane scored the winning goal against the Philadelphia Flyers to win the Stanley Cup 4-3 in overtime, at Game Six of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO - JUNE 09: Chicago Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville and Patrick Kane #88 celebrate after Kane scored the winning goal against the Philadelphia Flyers to win the Stanley Cup 4-3 in overtime, at Game Six of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks
CHICAGO – JUNE 09: Chicago Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville and Patrick Kane #88 celebrate after Kane scored the winning goal against the Philadelphia Flyers to win the Stanley Cup 4-3 in overtime, at Game Six of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Chicago Blackhawks organization announced Tuesday morning at 8:05 CT that long-time coach Joel Quenneville would be relieved of his coaching duties. Here’s a thank you letter to the man that brought winning hockey back to Chicago.

To recap the surprising events in Chicago Blackhawks hockey which transpired this morning; Quenneville, in addition to Ulf Samuelsson and Kevin Dineen, have been let go. Jeremy Colliton has been brought on as the new head coach while Barry Smith has been brought on as the new assistant coach.

Don Granato and Jimmy Waite both stayed on board.

An angry rant on all of this news is coming soon, however right now isn’t the time for that. Rather, I’d like to take some time to appreciate Coach Q, a Chicago icon gone far too soon.

A Thank You to Joel Quenneville

I was barely older than a decade when the Chicago Blackhawks decided to fire Dennis Savard in favor of some guy with a mustache.

I knew the history of Savard and what he meant to Chicago. I knew my older families were’t happy. But, I also knew Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were going to be special. I remember being confused about his firing, but understanding what it meant for the team’s progress moving forward.

Coincidental or not, when Joel was brought in you could feel a change in the direction and momentum of the team. “One Goal” was rolled out as a new motto for the team. Chicago had high hopes that were so much more than just hopes — they were plans to win with no alternative option.

After they were eliminated in the Conference Finals of the 2008-09 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the question wasn’t a matter of if the Chicago Blackhawks could end their Stanley Cup drought.

It was a question of when.

All of a sudden, the culture and stigma surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks changed.

Thank you, Coach Q.

It only took Joel Quenneville two seasons to end 49 years of waiting. In only his second year with the Chicago Blackhawks, he coached the team to a 50 win season (his second of his career) and a Stanley Cup. Approaching a decade later, that season stands as the most wins in team history (52).

In a shortened 2012-13 season (they played 48 regular season games), Q only lost seven times.

Seven.

That same year, the Chicago Blackhawks walked away with points in 80.2% of their games — the best point percentage in team history. Oh, and he proved he can succeed out of the regular season again as the ‘Hawks dominated their way to a second Stanley Cup win in four seasons.

Eventually, 2 in 4 turned into 3 and 6 after the 2015 season and Chicago found themselves with a dynasty on their hands.

Thank you, Coach Q.

In his time in Chicago, he had a losing since just one time. His point percentage dipped below 60% only twice, one being 59.1%. He led the Chicago Blackhawks to 100+ points on six different occasions. Currently, Q sits in second all-time in wins in the NHL.

In the regular season with the Blackhawks, Coach Q’s record is 452-249-96. In the post season, Q and the ‘Hawks posted a 76-52 record. They won 3 Stanley Cups together.

Thank you, Coach Q.

What Joel Quenneville meant to the Chicago Blackhawks, the city of Chicago or even just a fan from Indiana like me, cannot be understated.

The guy is a Chicago icon. A hockey icon. An icon-icon.

Q made winning happen in Chicago again. He helped the development of young studs like Kane and Toews. When he got heat for how he brought up young players, Q adapted and helped to guide a 19-year old onto his blue line.

Coach Joel Quenneville was all business when it mattered, but you better believe he knew how to celebrate. Q built a dynasty in Chicago, and he deserved better than to be a scapegoat for bad moves made by the front office.

While his time was coming soon anyway, today was not the day. Q deserved an old fashioned, western cowboy-esqe ending where Joel rides off into the sunset leaving the organization behind.

He didn’t deserve this.

My writing will never summarize what he did for this organization. My writing will never give him his job back. And, although I may want it to, my writing won’t get GM Stan Bowman held accountable (and fired) instead.

Next. A Look at Henri Jokiharju's Surprising Start. dark

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Rather, what I can do, is be thankful. Thankful for the memories, the ups, the downs, the crotch grabs, all of it.

Thank you, Coach Q.

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