The Chicago Blackhawks made a number of phenomenal moves to raise their franchise from one of sports’ worst to one of the best in the early 2000s. They drafted faces of the franchise in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Rocky Wirtz brought in John McDonough to run the franchise. Marian Hossa was signed in free agency. However, perhaps the most important move made was replacing head coach Denis Savard with Joel Quenneville.
452 regular-season wins, 76 playoff wins, and three Stanley Cups later, “Coach Q” became an icon in Chicago. He entered the esteemed legendary status of coaches in this city with Mike Ditka and Phil Jackson.
When the Blackhawks fired Quenneville last season after missing the playoffs the year prior, fans were outraged, and rightfully so. Quenneville was perhaps the greatest thing to happen to this franchise. He brought them from a young and talented roster to three-time champions. Nobody liked to win more than Coach Q.
While the Blackhawks have moved on to Jeremy Colliton, the NHL recognized Quenneville with honors of the league’s top coach of the 2010s. He was dominant in every way. Every playoff series he entered, he almost always found a way to out-coach the man standing behind the opposing team’s bench.
Quenneville will return to Chicago this coming Tuesday as his Florida Panthers come to the United Center to take on the Blackhawks. It will be an emotional night for everyone in the building. Old, sweet memories will come rushing back. Fans will be “Q-ing” all night. Fans will remember all the good times. It will be bittersweet as they see their former coach behind the opponents’ bench. Congratulations to Joel Quenneville, who will forever be a Blackhawk in this town.