The Quenneville Era: A decade of unmatched success in Blackhawks’ history

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Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville celebrates with the Stanley Cup after the team defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday, June 15, 2015, at the United Center in Chicago. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Every great coach sees a career come to an end. We’ve seen it here in Chicago with a number of legendary leaders.

Mike Ditka, who won the Bears’ only Super Bowl in 1985, was fired in 1992. Phil Jackson retired briefly from the NBA after the Bulls’ sixth championship when it became obvious the dynasty was coming to an end.

Ozzie Guillen, who led the White Sox to their first World Series title in 88 years back in 2005, left to take the Marlins job when he nor the team could mutually agree on a deal to move forward after 2011. Joe Maddon, who ended a 108-year drought with the Cubs, won’t get a contract extension as he enters his final year in 2019.

Joel Quenneville is in this fraternity of elite coaches in Chicago history, and one could make an argument for him to be the best ever. But like others, his time has come to an unceremonious end.

The firing of the head coach after just over a decade in the position ends the most successful run by any coach in franchise history.

Quenneville’s numbers alone are impressive:

  • 452 wins is second in Blackhawks’ history, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516 from 1963-1976
  • His .627 winning percentage is easily the best of any other coach.
  • The Blackhawks made nine-straight playoff appearances
  • Quenneville’s three Stanley Cups are the most by any coach in franchise history.
  • Combined with his time in St. Louis and Colorado, he’s the second-winningest coach in NHL history with 890 victories.

It started on October 16, 2008 and concluded on November 6, 2018, with a plethora of memories in between.

The Start: May 11, 2009: Blackhawks advance to the West Finals for the first time since 1995

Patrick Kane’s hat trick in front of a raucous United Center in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals gave the Blackhawks a series win over the Vancouver Canucks. It put them in the conference finals for the first time since the 1995 season, where they lost to the Red Wings in five games.

Cup No. 1: June 9, 2010: Blackhawks beat the Flyers for the Stanley Cup

After a dominant regular season in which they won a franchise-record 52 games, the Blackhawks went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1992. The finished off the Flyers in Game 6 in Philadelphia as Patrick Kane’s overtime goal – that took a few seconds to see if it was good – the team had their first championship since 1961.

The Streak: March 6, 2013: Hawks start the season with 24-game unbeaten stretch


After a lockout cut the 2012-2013 season nearly in half, the Blackhawks gave fans across the NHL a reason to cheer.

The team opened up the season with a 24-game unbeaten streak, collecting at least a point in each contest. The last game of the stretch was a thriller on March 6th at the United Center as Daniel Carcillo scored a goal with 49 seconds left to beat the Avalanche 3-2. The moment of the team hugging Carcillo was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated the next week.


Over 48 games the Blackhawks got 77 points and earned home ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Cup No. 2: June 24, 2013: 17 seconds of glory

The Blackhawks second championship provided arguably the greatest moment of the Quenneville era in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins.

Down 2-1 with 1:16 to go, the Blackhawks got goals from Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland 17 seconds apart to win the game 3-2 and capture their second Stanley Cup of the Quenneville era.

The phrase “17 Seconds” is one of the most popular in of the era.

Cup No. 3: June 15, 2015: Gritty Blackhawks outlast the rest

It was a playoffs in which the Blackhawks had a goalie switch in the opening round, went to seven games with the Ducks in the conference finals, and then came back from a deficit against the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final.

Yet the reward for their fortitude was a unique moment in franchise history – a cup clinching at home.

Goals by Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane along with a shutout from Corey Crawford gave the Blackhawks at 2-0 victory for their first Stanley Cup winner at home since 1938.

A Milestone Triumph: January 17, 2016: Quenneville goes to second on NHL wins list

As the wins piled up in Chicago, many were starting to watch the all-time NHL standings in the 2015-2016 season. Qunneville was quickly approaching Al Arbour for second on league’s coaching wins list. He was at 782 wins, but the Blackhawks helped their coach overtake him with a win over the Canadiens on January 17th of that season.

He passed Arbour for second all-time, and leaving the Blackhawks only trails Scotty Bowman (1,244 wins) for the record.

The Last Victory: October 25, 2018: Quenneville’s last win with the Blackhawks.

At the moment, few would have thought this would be it. But a 4-1 victory against the Rangers at the United Center would prove to be his last with the Blackhawks. The team would fail to win their next five games, leading the Blackhawks to move on from the legendary coach who made memories for a generation.

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