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Flyers to hire former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, per reports

Coach Q is heading to Philadelphia.

Stanley Cup Finals - Chicago Blackhawks v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Three Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images

The Flyers are expected to hire former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville after firing Dave Hakstol as their head coach Sunday or Monday, reports Dave Isaac of the Courier Post. Steph Driver of SB Nation first reported Saturday that a change was likely to come.

However, shortly after the story revealing the Flyers’ decision was published, Andy Strickland of Fox Sports Midwest in St. Louis, tweeted that he heard from Quenneville that the story “is not true.” The Flyers also denied the report after the team landed Sunday evening from their flight from Vancouver.

Driver disputed Strickland’s claim, and the Flyers denying the report.

If the deal comes together, Quenneville will make his return to the United Center when the Flyers visit the Blackhawks on March 21.

It’ll be the second major leadership change for Philadelphia, who fired Ron Hextall as general manager Nov. 26 and named Chuck Fletcher his successor Dec. 3. The Flyers (12-15-4) currently sit in last place in the Eastern Conference with 28 points. They’re off until Tuesday, which will likely be Quenneville’s debut behind the bench.

The Blackhawks fired Quenneville on Nov. 6 after a 6-6-3 start to his 11th season behind the Chicago bench. The 60-year-old is the second-winningest head coach in NHL history, compiling 890 wins with St. Louis, Colorado and Chicago; only Scotty Bowman (1,244) has more.

Quenneville won three Stanley Cup championships in 2010, 2013 and 2015 to bring the Blackhawks from a laughing stock to the top of the NHL.

Chicago (10-18-6) promoted its AHL coach, Jeremy Colliton, who is the youngest head coach in the NHL at 33 years old. The Blackhawks have continued to struggle after the coaching change by going 4-12-2.

Hakstol, 50, took the Flyers to two playoff appearances since 2016. Philadelphia lost in the first round 4-2 each time, to Washington in 2016 and Pittsburgh in 2018. The Flyers hired Hakstol in May 2015 after he complied 289 wins with seven Frozen Four appearances in 11 seasons at North Dakota.

Hakstol’s dismal will mark the fifth head coaching change this season: John Stevens (Kings), Quenneville, Mike Yeo (Blues) and Todd McLellan (Oilers) were all let go.