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Joel Quenneville talks about firing from Blackhawks, returning to coaching

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The former Blackhawks coach wants to be back behind the bench “sooner with no hurry.”

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Quenneville is eager to get back to coaching in the NHL.

Quenneville was fired by the Blackhawks on Nov. 6, 2018, amid a five-game losing streak and 6-6-3 start to the season. After tailgating with Chicago Bears fans the next Sunday outside of Solider Field, the three-time Stanley Cup-winning head coach has stayed out of the public eye and hasn’t spoken with any media.

That changed Sunday afternoon when Quenneville, 60, talked with WGN’s Dan Roan during a Blackhawks alumni charity event in Willowbrook. Quenneville said he has an “appetite” to get back into coaching.

“It’s been awhile now since we’ve been behind the bench, so I think there’s an appetite as we went a long here to get back into the game,” Quenneville said. “I watch a lot of games. I try to not watch as much Blackhawks as I used to, but I watch most of the games. It’s been a great race, and it’s going to be fun to see all it all plays out.”

Quenneville’s contract with the Blackhawks doesn’t expire until the end of the 2019-20 season, so he could wait until then and collect his $6 million before returning to the NHL coaching ranks. But he will be evaluating his options before that time comes.

“Sooner with no hurry,” Quenneville said. “We’ll see how things transpire in the offseason. Umm... I think we’ll have to think about it and uh... we’ll see.”

In mid-December, the Philadelphia Flyers were reportedly set to hire Quenneville for their vacant head coaching position after they fired Dave Hakstol. But Flyers General Manager Chuck Fletcher denied reports he had discussed the opening with Quenneville and promoted AHL coach Scott Gordon to the post in an interim role. Fletcher also said he hasn’t talked to Quenneville in two years aside from sending Quenneville a message after he was fired.

Gordon has remained the Flyers interim head coach and has them six points shy of Columbus for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Quenneville also opened up about if he was surprised by his firing.

“I think in our business there’s not too many surprises anymore,” he said. “I was privileged to be in Chicago for 10 years, 11. It’s part of the business, I understand all that. I know when I exited other places, the bitterness, the animosity was at a different level. And here the memories were so special and so good, and the people here were so special to me and my family that it was tough, but they made it all like ... I never (had the opportunity to) thank the fans since I left, but I’ve got nothing but appreciation and admire all they’ve done and supported our team and our experience in Chicago.”