On Tuesday, November 6th, the Chicago Blackhawks announced the firing of long time head coach Joel Quenneville. Quenneville was the head coach for the last ten seasons. As noted here (hyperlink) the reactions to the Quenneville firing were not taken lightly but players on the team and those on the outside.
However, one person who is unfairly being blamed is Jeremy Colliton, Chicago’s new head coach. Colliton was promoted from the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford Icehogs, after one full season as their bench boss.
Colliton was a 2nd round pick by the New York Islanders in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. This draft is considered one of the best ever, producing the likes of Shea Weber, Corey Crawford, Brent Seabrook and Patrice Bergeron, to name a few. He played 57 career NHL games recording 3 goals and 3 assists.
Colliton became the youngest head coach currently in the NHL at the ripe age of 33. Four current Blackhawks are older than the new head coach (Kunitz, Crawford, Ward and Keith).
Coach Quenneville will be missed dearly by all Blackhawks fans. He was a staple of this organization for what is probably the best decade of Blackhawks hockey ever seen. He was the leader of those great teams and there is good reason for him being a future hall of famer. Coach Q was fired because someone had to be blamed for this team not living up to the “Blackhawks expectation”. Sadly, Joel was the scapegoat and the real menaces continue to man the front office.
As fans, we cannot blame Jeremy Colliton for anything. He is not the reason Coach Q is gone. If anything, fans need to rally behind Colliton and hope he brings positivity to this franchise.
Personally, I think Colliton is the right man for the job, internally. I believe Colliton was brought into the organization to be groomed in the AHL so he could eventually take over for Coach Q one day, whether that was next year or a few years from now. However, I think Colliton was ultimately supposed to be the heir to the Blackhawks coaching throne. The appointment to head coach came much faster than anyone probably expected.
Colliton was able to take Rockford on their deepest playoff run in the team’s history since joining the AHL. You can argue that Rockford was stacked for the playoff run, but to convince veterans like Lance Bouma and Cody Franson to buy in after being demoted, speaks to the communication ability and influence of Colliton. I think the team will quickly buy in to his coaching style over the next few games. Although the early portion of the Carolina game did not look good for Chicago, their pace of play picked up dramatically late. You could see the speed and pace that Colliton preached in Rockford and now preaches with the Hawks come to life as Thursday night’s contest rolled on.
What do you think of Colliton? Let us know in the comments and on all social media outlets!
Photo: (in article) AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski/ (featured image) via NBC Sports Chicago