The Blackhawks fired coach Joel Quenneville on Tuesday and named Jeremy Colliton to replace him, making him the 38th coach in franchise history.
The Hawks also fired assistant coaches Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson and named Barry Smith an assistant on Colliton’s staff. The rest of the coaching staff will remain with the team.
The Hawks failed to make the playoffs last season for the first time during Quenneville’s tenure. They are 6-6-3 this season and have lost five straight, including one in overtime.
The Hawks haven’t won a playoff series since winning the Stanley Cup in 2015, their third championship in six years.
“As Chicago Blackhawks fans have seen over the last decade, this organization no longer shies away from making tough decisions or ones based on emotion,” owner Rocky Wirtz said in a statement. “Those days are long behind us. Of course, Joel’s was difficult, as it should have been. During his tenure as head coach to the Chicago Blackhawks, Joel brought the city of Chicago and our fans three Stanley Cups and an incredible era of hockey.
“When Joel was originally hired into our 2008 season, we had great hope for his potential to take the team to new levels. He went beyond what anyone expected. As difficult as that decision in 2008 was, this one was tougher. But as we look to a future history not yet defined, we believe the change we made today, will provide the Chicago Blackhawks a critical element in achieving our goals of Championships in the future, including this season.
“I wish Joel and his family well and thank him for his incredible leadership and results. Nothing will ever take away the success he brought our franchise, our fans and my family. Joel will forever be etched into the most memorable era in Chicago Blackhawk hockey. And for that, we will always be connected and always eternally grateful.”
Added general manager Stan Bowman: “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.
“We are extremely fortunate to have Jeremy Colliton in the Blackhawks organization and feel strongly that he is best positioned to continue leading our players here in Chicago. All of those associated with Jeremy strongly believe he possesses many of the tools that will make him a successful head coach in this league. He has been very impressive as a communicator, a leader, and coach. He knows the Blackhawks system, understands our players and our culture and we believe he gives us the best opportunity to have success and grow as a team.”
Quenneville, 60, was the second-winningest coach in franchise history with a record of 452-249-96 in 797 games since 2008. He has the best postseason record in Hawks history, compiling a record of 76-52, including three Stanley Cups — 2010, 2013 and 2015.
His Hawks team teams made the playoffs in nine of 10 seasons and he was the longest-tenured coach in the NHL. The Hawks hired him on Oct. 16, 2008. He is the second-winningest coach in NHL history with a career record of 890-532-214. He coached in 1,636 games, first among active coaches and second all time. Before the Hawks, he was coach of the Avalanche (2005-08) and Blues (1996- 2004).
Colliton, 33, is now the youngest head coach in the NHL. He was 12 games into his second season with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Last year, the team went 40-28-4-4. Colliton was named IceHogs coach on May 18, 2017 — his first coaching job in North America.
Before joining the Hawks organization, Colliton spent four seasons as the coach of Mora IK in Sweden (HockeyAllsvenskan). He is a native of Blackie, Alberta.
Colliton had an eight-year playing career primarily in the NHL and AHL. He appeared in 57 NHL games over five seasons (2005-09, 2010-11) with the New York Islanders, netting three goals and three assists. He was drafted by the Islanders in the second round (58th overall) of the 2003 draft.