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Blackhawks Announce Head Coaching Change

by Chicago Blackhawks Press Release / Chicago Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks have named Joel Quenneville the 37th head coach in franchise history, replacing Denis Savard, who was relieved of his duties earlier on Thursday.

“This was an extremely hard day for this organization and for me personally,” Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon said. “Denis is forever a part of our organization. We made a tough decision that we strongly feel is the right one as we continue to evaluate our team and create a championship caliber organization that can sustain success. Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact.”

Quenneville, 50, has registered a .592 regular-season winning percentage in parts of 11 years as a head coach in the National Hockey League, including seven seasons behind the St. Louis Blues’ bench (1996-2004) and three with the Colorado Avalanche (2005-08). A veteran of 839 regular-season games as a head coach, he is 155 games over .500 (438-283-118). He most recently served as the bench boss for the Avalanche last season, posting a 44-31-7 record before being signed by the Blackhawks as a pro scout in September.

The Windsor, Ontario, native has guided nine of his 11 teams to the postseason record which includes reaching at least the second round on six occasions. Last year, he led the Avalanche to the Western Conference Semifinals before being eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings.

One of three men in the history of the NHL to have played in and coached at least 800 games, Quenneville has notched at least 40 wins in eight of his nine full seasons as a head coach, which includes a career-best 51 victories ¬– and 113 points – in 1999-2000 with St. Louis when the team captured the President’s Trophy with the league’s best record. He is the winningest coach in Blues history, having compiled a 307-191-95 record in that post. Quenneville captured the 2000 Jack Adams Trophy as the league’s top coach and also served as the head coach of the North American All-Stars at the 2001 NHL All-Star Game.

Quenneville spent 13 seasons as a NHL defenseman, netting 54 goals, 136 assists, 190 points and 705 penalty minutes in 803 career games with the Toronto Maple Leafs (1979-80), Colorado Rockies (1980-82), New Jersey Devils (1982-83), Hartford Whalers (1983-90) and Washington Capitals (1990-91). He retired as an active player after the 1991-92 season, when he served as a player-coach for the American Hockey League’s St. John’s Maple Leafs . Quenneville broke into coaching with the AHL’s Springfield Indians before serving as an assistant coach for the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche organization for two and a half seasons. He helped Colorado capture the 1996 Stanley Cup in that position before accepting his first NHL head coaching job with St. Louis for the 1996-97 campaign.

Savard registered a 65-67-15 mark (.497) behind the Blackhawks bench in parts of three seasons (2006-08) after being named to the post on Nov. 29, 2006.
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